Respiratory patients are now receiving their treatment in the comfort of their own homes thanks to The James Cook University Hospital’s latest virtual ward.
The new virtual ward helps patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
COPD is a long-term condition that causes inflammation in lungs, damaged lung tissue and a narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult.
Patients with COPD can be required to spend time in hospital under the supervision of the respiratory nursing team.
But patients who meet the requirements and are seen as low risk are now being shown how to use a pulse oximeter to measure their oxygen saturations and heart rate at home.
They are then telephoned daily by the specialist nursing team who monitor their recovery.
Ramamurthy Sathyamurthy, consultant in respiratory medicine and chair of the trust’s medicine and emergency collaborative, said: “Our experience with the successful COVID virtual ward taught us that patients feel safer and emotionally better when treated at home under the expert supervision of our nursing team.
We are now looking to expand this virtual monitoring and delivering care at home in respiratory conditions starting with COPD patients which has been received very well.”
Janet Leight, respiratory lead added: “So far over 30 patients have gone through the service, which is fantastic.
“There are two types of oximeters that we use for our patients. The first is a standard one that you simply clip onto your finger and then we phone them to record their results. The other links directly to their mobile phone using Bluetooth, meaning their results are instantly visible on our system and we can ring them straightaway if their results are in red and do a home visit if required.”