Virtual Ward: One Year On

Published: 29 January 2024 to 31 December 2098

virtual ward one year on

In January 2023 we launched the Virtual Ward for patients across North Yorkshire. Virtual Wards deliver care at home for patients who would otherwise have to be treated in hospital, by enabling earlier supported discharge and providing alternatives to admission where this is safe.

Initially it started with 5 beds available in Scarborough, which was increased to 15 beds over the course of the year, now also supporting patient in Whitby and Ryedale. The intention is to further increase this offering to 25 beds from April 2024.

There is one Frailty ward with the main support team based at Scarborough from the Trust base at Prospect Road. This ward supports patients both at home and in care homes. Virtual Frailty wards provide a safe alternative to hospital for patients living with frailty through community-based acute health and care delivery.

Over the last year the multi-disciplinary team have made huge progress in this provision of healthcare and supported over 150 patients through this new community service. The virtual ward patients are also supported by other Humber community services, including the District Nursing and therapy services, and community specialist services where appropriate for patient care.

Sarah Locker, Service Manager and Operational Lead for the Virtual Ward development and delivery spoke of how proud she is of the significant progress made to be able to provide a virtual frailty ward alongside existing community services.

She said, “We have received positive feedback from patients, as well as from other local professionals, around the benefits of proving this additional care at home. We look forward to continuing to grow our community virtual ward and to developing clinical skills and use of technology to support more patients and families.”

Care at home includes face-to-face visits from community clinical staff, as well as options to use technology to support patient wellbeing and health monitoring from home. It can support patients following a fall, those experiencing reduced mobility or managing an infection. It can also provide palliative care or end of life support. It can also prevent an admission to hospital where safe and appropriate or enable earlier discharge from hospital. Thus, reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections and support more time with family or friends at home, especially for people living with frailty.

The future of the Virtual Wards is growing too. The service is also looking into the potential development of bringing the Virtual Ward and Urgent Community Response (UCR) services more closely together, to provide effective and safe patient care pathways.  There is also potential to explore more use of digital technology, to help provide responsive care to patients at home.

Download our Virtual Frailty Ward information:

Virtual Frailty Ward: One Year On from Commencing the Service infographic

Community Virtual Ward Service Patient Information

Patient Journey – Frailty Virtual Ward 

Patient Journey – Frailty Virtual Ward with Direct Referral from GP Practice Nurse

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