Hospital admission avoidance through the introduction of a virtual ward.
Br J Community Nurs. 2014 Jul;19(7):330-4
Authors: Jones J, Carroll A
The ageing British population is placing increased demands on the delivery of care in mainstream health-care institutions. While people are living longer, a significant percentage is also living with one or more long-term conditions. These issues, alongside continuing financial austerity measures, require a radical improvement in the care of patients away from hospitals. The Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group introduced a virtual ward model for two main purposes: to save on spiralling costs of hospital admissions, and, secondly, to ensure the preferred wishes of most patients to be cared for and even die at home were achieved. This commentary describes how the virtual ward model was implemented and the impact of preventing unplanned emergency admissions to hospitals. The setting up of enhanced care services and virtual wards in one county is discussed, aiming to highlight success points and potential pitfalls to avoid. The results from the implementation of the virtual ward model show a significant reduction in emergency and avoidable patient admissions to hospital. The success of virtual wards is dependent on integrated working between different health-care disciplines.
PMID: 25039341 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]