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18 October 2006 - Virtual Wards - Croydon Online

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					                                  Broad Green & Waddon Neighbourhood Partnership
                                                                 18 October 2006




                  INTRODUCING VIRTUAL WARDS
      roydon’s first new “virtual

C     ward” opened in May
      2006, and a second ward is
due to open shortly.
                                              Patients admitted to the virtual wards
                                              will be cared for in their own homes,
                                              using similar organisation, timetable
                                              and staffing to a hospital ward. A
Virtual wards care for vulnerable             community matron will lead the day-to-
patients living at home who run the           day running of the ward, liaising closely
highest risk of unplanned admission to        with the patient's GP. Each ward will
hospital. Many of these people have           have a team of nurses, a pharmacist,
long-term health conditions and all           social worker, physiotherapist,
have complex needs.                           occupational therapist and a ward
                                              administrator.
The first pilot ward - able to care for 100
patients - will be carefully evaluated,       The telephone number of the ward
and if successful further virtual wards       administrator will become a
will be opened, eventually to cover the       “communications hub” for patients and
whole borough. Patients will be               healthcare staff to use to share or
selected for the virtual wards based on       collect information about ward patients.
their predicted need, using computer
software newly developed for the NHS.         "We hope the patients cared for on the
                                              virtual wards will be healthier than they
Emergency admissions                          would be otherwise,” says Dr Geraint
                                              Lewis of the PCT’s Public Health
The software means that for the first
                                              Department, who first proposed the
time, staff of Croydon Primary Care
                                              idea. “As a result, we are hoping they
Trust will know in advance who is at
                                              will need to be admitted less often to
most risk of emergency admission to
                                              hospital. A by-product will be savings
hospital. Virtual wards can then be
                                              for the PCT which can then be
offered exclusively to these patients
                                              reinvested in other aspects of primary
with the greatest need for extra
                                              care.”
support.

There are around 2,600 patients in             Laurence Mascarenhas
Croydon who have had three or more              Croydon Primary Care Trust
unplanned emergency admissions in a             Tel: 020 8274 6266
year with a worsening of their long-term
condition - one patient alone had 20
unplanned admissions. The target is to
support these patients so that the
overall use of emergency beds in
Croydon is cut by 5 per cent from 2006-
07.

				
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