Dorset’s virtual working helped monitor COVID patients at home

Patients in Dorset with COVID-19 were helped to use oximeters to be able to monitor their oxygen levels.

Partners from across the system worked together to develop a virtual team, making the service as accessible as possible.

Using the home monitored data the team – including doctors and nurses at the GP, urgent care services and the hospital – were able to advise patients quickly on whether they needed hospital care or could be managed at home.

Using a similar approach, blood pressure and conditions such as COPD and diabetes are being monitored by patients at home thanks to teams from partners across the integrated care system joining together to redesign a digital and personalised care for these conditions – safer for patients during the pandemic and making use of all the resources available.

Other frequent users of services can access different support such as advice on issues with housing, equipment, referral to mental health services or wider problems like isolation.

The teams also use a ‘virtual ward’ approach for frail older people, with GPs, consultants, physios and social care staff monitoring their conditions and intervening as soon as possible to keep people well and independent. In 18 months, the proactive integrated response has seen Weymouth and Bridport reduce unplanned admissions to Dorset County Hospital giving it the lowest rate of the country’s three hospitals.