The families of those recovering from coronavirus have praised a new virtual Covid ward which monitors a patient’s oxygen levels in their own home, and consequently frees up hospital beds.

A carefully selected group of hospitalised patients recovering from Covid were discharged early, to their own home, with low flow oxygen via an oxygen concentrator and regular monitoring using a pulse oximeter. Patients were supported by a daily phone call from a specialist nurse.

The virtual Covid ward is run by a specialist team of respiratory nurses who monitor the progress of patients remotely across East Sussex. Patients have spent an average of five to 10 days on the virtual ward. The team contacted patients daily to check on their symptoms, their general wellbeing and to record their oxygen saturation. Any concerns were escalated to a consultant respiratory physician for advice and a hospital assessment arranged as necessary. So far, 12 patients have been supported on the virtual ward with 125 hospital bed days saved.

One patient’s feedback about the system said: “I am so grateful to you for your calls, I am so pleased I didn’t have to stay in hospital just to receive oxygen, and I am happy to spend my recovery time at home.”

Dr Simon Merritt, Respiratory Consultant and Chief of Medicine, said: “Our virtual Covid ward has received a high level of satisfaction from patients. Everyone has expressed their gratitude, felt supported and have been reassured the whole time while they were at home. The virtual ward was set up at great speed when we were under considerable pressure, and its success is a tribute to the great team work of everyone involved in setting it up.”

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.