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Virtual Wards in Derby and Derbyshire

 

This video was produced by and shared here with kind permission from NHS Sussex.

Virtual Wards in Derby and Derbyshire

Delivering medical care into the place you call home

What are Virtual Wards?

A Virtual Ward aims to provide hospital-level care at home. Virtual Wards allow suitable patients to get the care they need safely and conveniently at the place they call home (including care homes) rather than in a hospital.

The NHS is increasingly introducing virtual wards to support people at home, providing safe care for appropriate patients who would otherwise be in hospital, either by preventing admissions or allowing for an earlier, supported discharge.

Virtual Wards utilise new technologies, such as wearable devices, to provide real-time information to a dedicated remote team of health and care professionals.

Virtual Wards are not a replacement for face-to-face care; only when a clinician feels it is safe and appropriate to do so – and the patient also agrees – will a patient be moved to a Virtual Ward.

Who works on a Virtual Ward?

A Virtual Ward team will have a range of experts. This includes hospital doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals such as physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, dieticians and occupational therapists. Your GP will also be notified about your time on the Virtual Ward. Personalised care plans identify what matters to the person to ensure that the support they receive is designed and coordinated around their desired outcomes.

What are the benefits for patients?

Virtual Wards allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital. This offers a number of benefits for patients:

  • Individuals can take charge of their own health with assistance and guidance as needed.
  • Patients can enjoy the comfort of their own home knowing that a dedicated team is monitoring their progress.
  • Time spent in hospital is minimised so there is less disruption to daily life.
  • Patients receive appropriate care without the need for frequent hospital visits.

What’s happening with the Virtual Ward programme in Derby and Derbyshire?

The roll out of the Virtual Wards programme in Derby and Derbyshire means that patients with a range of conditions can now access ward-level care in the comfort of their own home. 

The expansion of Virtual Wards is supported by a growing evidence base that demonstrates benefits for patients who would otherwise be admitted to hospital, allowing them to continue their treatment at home safely and conveniently.

By autumn 2025, Joined Up Care Derbyshire aims to have introduced 255 Virtual Ward beds. Currently, Virtual Wards are available for Cardiology, Respiratory, Frailty, Diagnostics and End of Life / Palliative Medicine. Further Virtual Wards, covering other conditions, will be added later.

The virtual ward expansion forms part of an investment in schemes to increase bed capacity across all hospitals and care homes within the Joined Up Care Derbyshire Integrated Care System (ICS). Virtual Wards are now being actively used to care for patients as follows:

Edit
Service Provider Type of Ward
Royal Derby Hospital Respiratory
Cardiology (jointly delivered by UHDB and Derbyshire Community Health Services)
Chesterfield Royal Hospital Respiratory
Cardiology
Frailty
Diagnostics
Ashgate Hospice End of Life/Palliative Care
DHU Healthcare Community   

How would I know whether a Virtual Ward is right for me?

Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their healthcare. It’s ok to ask questions of the people supporting your health and care. Below are some things to think about to help you understand whether a Virtual Ward could work for your particular circumstances.

  • Assess your situation – Reflect on your health condition. Do you feel that you are stable enough to manage at home? Do you require frequent hospital visits? Do you often feel these visits are unnecessary, or do you find them essential?
  • Think about what works for you – Do you prefer home-based care? Are you already fairly comfortable with technology or happy to be shown how to use wearable devices to support more home-based care?

If you feel a Virtual Ward might work for you, share your thoughts with your healthcare team and they will be able to guide you based on your specific circumstances.

Patient feedback

Palliative Care
The husband of one of the patients on the Palliative Care virtual ward, praised the “kindness and dedication” of the nurses on the ward who cared for his family during one of the most difficult times in their lives. He said: “I felt very lucky to have had this fantastic resource at home for us and hope that over time it can be developed further so that more people can benefit.”  – Ashgate Hospice

Cardiology
One patient who was requiring intravenous diuretics was able to be at home waiting for their valve surgery as they were too unstable to be on tablets alone. Previously they would have had to stay in hospital – often this could be for many weeks – and for this patient it was five weeks.

What happens when a patient is discharged from a Virtual Ward?

Once a patient has been discharged from the Virtual Ward, their ongoing care will be handed back to their GP, community provider or existing specialist team. However, they are still able to contact the Virtual Ward team should they need to.

Suggestions

Please feel free to add any suggestions you may have as to how we can improve the information on this page by contacting us at ddicb.communications@nhs.net. If you have been on – or are currently on – a Virtual Ward and would like to tell us about your experience, please also feel free to share your thoughts with us.

Find out more

NHS England » Virtual wards

This Video produced by and shared here with kind permission from NHS Sussex.

 

News stories

Virtual Wards Launch in Derbyshire » Joined Up Care Derbyshire

Virtual wards summit – Tuesday 12 September 2023 » Joined Up Care Derbyshire

Health and care staff from across Joined Up Care Derbyshire invited to visit Virtual Ward Hub at Chesterfield Royal Hospital » Joined Up Care Derbyshire

Last Updated: Friday 1st March 2024 - 5:33:pm

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