I am writing this letter to tell about the best kept secret in the NHS.
It is ‘Virtual Ward Care’ and this means caring for the community in their own home when appropriate.
My mother, who is 89 and my father who is 92, still live in their own home.
They support each other together with help from the family, friends and neighbours. My mother had a bad chest infection which affected her blood and she was having to be admitted to hospital for expert nursing care and daily observations.
Her worry was leaving my father. This was when ‘virtual ward care’ stepped in. She was immediately that day assessed by a matron in her home and for the next four days she had professional nurses calling morning and night checking her blood pressure, temperature and general wellbeing. They also checked what fluids consumed, what foods eaten and that she had taken all medications, exactly as if she was in a hospital ward.
This professional care was backed by her GP who called to check her over too. She had a contact number to ring if she had any concern or needed help. At the end of four days, which saw my mother over the worst of the infection, she was put on to six-week after-hospital care by community nurses.
This is definitely the way forward for both the patient and for the NHS.
The NHS benefited by having a bed available for someone else who could not be nursed at home. Also, all the additional costs involved in a patient being kept in hospital, heating, lighting and food, were borne by the patient at home allowing someone else in more need of these services.It’s a professional service and should be rolled out nationwide as it’s a win win situation for all.