The covid virtual ward is an enhanced package of monitoring of symptoms and oxygen saturations for patients at risk of future deterioration or hospital admission. This monitoring is provided within a patient’s own home (or usual residence) and can be managed by either community or hospital teams.

Virtual wards bring the benefits and consultant expertise available in hospitals to patients while they remain at home - unless or until they need access to more specialised hospital equipment.

“The virtual ward is a mini ‘hospital-at-home’, where we can monitor patients with covid or suspected covid for severe symptoms — for the onset of silent hypoxia and to look for sudden deterioration —just as they would be in a hospital bed.”

We could be facing a high peak this winter

Virtual wards mean that monitoring and early treatment will be available to what could be large numbers of patients if we get the second wave that history shows us is possible (see video). We should hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Any patient who does not need to be admitted to hospital — be they in care homes or in their own homes — will be held in the virtual ward space. The virtual ward will also provide a safety net for patients who are discharged from hospital. The virtual ward ensures a high degree of monitoring for patients with covid or other respiratory illnesses, so that they know what to do should certain symptoms develop.