HomeWard 044Norwich's new Virtual Ward is up and running - helping more patients to remain safe and well at home, rather than need a hospital bed.

It is run by expert nurses and therapists from Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) and is a major part of NHS Norwich Clinical Commissioning Group’s YourNorwich programme, to develop and integrate health and care in the community.

Patients who are medically stable can be discharged early from hospital and return home, or referred to the virtual ward by their GP rather than needing to go into a hospital. It has meant there is more space at Norwich Community Hospital for patients to recuperate after their treatment at the Norfolk and Norwich Community Hospital or that patients can leave the N&N sooner.

Once home, they have been looked after by the specialist team of nurses and therapists, usually for between 3-5 days. The patients have received the same level of care and monitoring that they would have received in hospital, which is why it is called a ‘virtual ward’.

Rosie Salmon, an Occupational Therapist with the virtual ward team, said: “It’s fantastic that the virtual ward is already making such a difference to our patients.

“Not only does it mean they can return to the comfort of their own home more quickly, but also keeps hospital beds free for those in the greatest clinical need.”

Dr David Goldser, from NHS Norwich CCG said: “If we provide our patients with faster, more intensive support at home it will help them to recover more quickly. It means there is a better chance that they can get back to normal after a hospital admission.”

John Mallett, NCH&Cs said: “This exciting initiative is helping people to return home from hospital sooner. We know that people prefer to receive care in their own homes wherever possible, so I’m delighted that as part of this pilot we have already been able to help so many people to leave hospital and to access the care they need in the comfort of their own homes.”

From April to November 2016, Homeward achieved:

  • An average of 16 patents per day
  • 10120 visits to patients
  • 197 admissions to acute hospital avoided
  • 67 A&E attendances prevented