Virtual wards

Virtual wards allow patients to get the care they need at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital.

Virtual wards are in place in many parts of the country, such as COVID virtual wards. People with other conditions can also be treated in a virtual ward, for example people living with frailty and people with acute respiratory infection.

The NHS is increasingly introducing virtual wards to support people at the place they call home, including care homes. In a virtual ward, support can include remote monitoring using apps, technology platforms, wearables and medical devices such as pulse oximeters. Support may also involve face-to-face care from multi-disciplinary teams based in the community, which is sometimes called Hospital at Home.

Dr Shelagh O’Riordan, Consultant Community Geriatrician and Professional Advisor at NHS England shares her tips for clinical teams setting up a frailty virtual ward in this blog.

This film shows a virtual ward in action at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

To support Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and service providers to establish or expand virtual wards, guidance for two high priority pathways have been produced – acute respiratory infection virtual wards and Hospital at Home for those with frailty.

Resources for systems and healthcare professionals

Network and further information

Case studies