NewsVirtual Wards Alleviate Hospital Pressure in Cornwall

Virtual Wards Alleviate Hospital Pressure in Cornwall

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Health leaders in Cornwall have reported that the increased utilization of virtual wards is effectively relieving pressure on hospital beds. This innovative system equips individuals with the necessary care and equipment within the comfort of their homes, reducing the need for ambulance calls or hospital visits.

Over the past year, approximately 1,900 patients have undergone the virtual ward process facilitated by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The trust revealed that this approach has resulted in the liberation of more than 16,500 hospital inpatient days.

Barbara Bennett, a 78-year-old resident from Redruth dealing with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), opted for a virtual ward when faced with an acute lung infection. Choosing this option allowed her to spend Christmas at home, and she expressed the benefits, stating, “It’s better than going into the hospital.” Bennett emphasized the advantages of personalized freedom and better sleep without the disruptions of hospital environments.

Since its launch during the pandemic, the virtual ward service has expanded, with approximately eight patients referred daily, according to the trust. GP Tamsyn Anderson, the trust’s chief operating officer, highlighted the significance of staying in one’s own home for many individuals to maintain maximum independence.

Patients under virtual care have their conditions monitored remotely by healthcare staff until recovery. In the event of a deterioration in the patient’s condition, staff facilitate access to hospital care promptly and in a planned manner.

Claire Bettison, the operational lead for digital health at the trust and a nurse, emphasized the importance of this choice in patient care, stating, “This is a choice that was not there before, and it is really important patients are active in their care and make their own choices.” The success of virtual wards in Cornwall signifies a positive shift toward patient-centered healthcare, reducing strain on hospital resources while providing personalized and efficient care.

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