Transforming Community and Out of Hospital care

A key element of the NHS Long Term plan is enabling the shift from care within acute hospital settings to a greater emphasis on people being supported within their communities.

This includes:

  • Investing in community rapid response teams to prevent admissions and speed-up discharges.
  • NHS support for people living in care homes.
  • Supporting people to age well, through identifying people in the community at risk of deterioration and offering them proactive personalised care and support.

All seven local systems across the South West are working to transform their out of hospital and community care, working collaboratively with many others including local authorities and the voluntary sector.


COVID Oximetry at Home and COVID Virtual Wards

COVID Oximetry at Home and COVID Virtual Ward services across the South West are supporting people with COVID who are at risk of becoming seriously unwell due to silent hypoxia.

They are given a simple pulse oximeter device to check their blood oxygen levels at home, along with supporting information. They monitor their oxygen levels at regular intervals and given clear guidance on what to do. If they show no signs of deterioration after 14 days, they are discharged from the service and given advice on continuing to support themselves at home.

COVID Oximetry at Home is a proactive service for people diagnosed with COVID in the community or ED. It is usually led by Community or Primary Care services. More information

COVID Virtual Wards is a reactive model usually led by hospital services and is for people who have been hospitalised with COVID. The virtual ward helps to support their discharge from hospital and they may be clinically more complex. More information


Stories about COVID Oximetry at Home

The following films illustrates the experience of an older person who developed COVID at home and was cared for by his wife, and both were supported by the NHS community teams. The final two films give a GP’s perspective of the service.


Patient stories:

Experiencing oximetry at home – GP and Patient perspective

Martin and Wendy – long version

Martin and Wendy – short version 1

Martin and Wendy – short version 2


GP stories

GP’s perspective – long version

GP’s perspective – short version


Further information

If you are a member of the public in the South West and would like further information about Covid  Oximetry at Home and the Virtual Ward, please email:

If you are a consultant or NHS member of staff in the South West and would like to access further information and case studies about Covid Oximetry at Home and the Virtual Ward, please visit the FutureNHS platform by following this link: South West ‘Covid Oximetry @home’ and ‘Covid Virtual Ward’ Case Studies – NHS @home – FutureNHS Collaboration Platform