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Virtual Wards

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A virtual ward provides wraparound care and support for people in their home. The service is provided by dedicated teams either in person, by use of technology, or both.

This service can stop people going into hospital or help them leave hospital sooner with extra support. Delivering virtual ward services supports our local ambition of ‘home first’ by helping more people to be happy, healthy at home.

People really value this approach as they are more comfortable in their own home, they can see loved ones and pets when they want, and can carry on with their usual routines in familiar surroundings, which can really speed up their recovery.

What to expect

1

Assessment

If you are suitable and are happy to receive care in the place you call home, then you will be referred to the virtual ward team. People can be transferred from hospital wards, accident & emergency (A&E) departments, and clinics or following an assessment at home.
2

Agreeing a plan

The virtual ward team will then discuss your personalised care and support plan with you, your family / carers (if appropriate) and your wider support network. This will include discussing whether you need monitoring with technology, any further investigations that might be required, your medications and the level of contact the virtual ward team needs to have with you.
3

Care at home

The virtual ward team will check-in with you as required and agreed as part of your personalised care and support plan Patients can also get in touch with the virtual ward team at any time by phone.
If you are using any technology devices, one of the virtual ward team will meet with you and take time to show you how they are used to safely monitor your health at home.
4

Monitoring your health

The virtual ward team will be alerted if you are not recovering or responding to treatment as expected. Changes to your care and support plan can then be made by your team without you having to return to hospital. For example, by altering your medication, providing additional equipment to aid with your recovery or visiting you at home.
5

Discharge or onward referral

Following the completion of your care, you will be discharged from the virtual ward. Your GP will be informed of the care and any medication changes that have taken place. We may also discuss referral to other community health and social care or voluntary sector providers with you, to support your ongoing needs.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What if my condition worsens?

The virtual ward team will be alerted if your condition worsens and you can also get in touch with the team at any time by telephone, using the number provided. Sometimes you may need to attend the hospital for more specialist investigations or more intensive treatment – the virtual ward team will organise this all for you and support you back home as soon as is safe to do so.

Which health and care professionals are part of the virtual ward team?

You will be looked after by a team of nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, carers support and doctors depending on your health and care support needs.

How long can the virtual ward team support me?

This depends on your individual assessment and health and care needs and will be discussed with you. Support may be for up to 2 weeks. We may discuss referral to other community health and social care or voluntary sector providers with you, to support your ongoing care.

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How do I get medication?

The virtual ward team can prescribe all your medications for you when you are on the virtual ward and new medications can be delivered to you if required.

Find out more

Find out how your local hospital is using technology to improve health and care services. Visit the Virtual Royal Infirmary at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust or the Digital Care Hub at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.