The Virtual Ward provides a community-based service using systems, processes and staffing similar to a hospital ward but without the physical building, The average length of stay for a patient on the virtual ward is twelve weeks.
The virtual ward is staffed by a team of nurses who work closely with a patient's own GP and a range of health and social care professionals to improve the quality of life, reduce unplanned hoepial admissions, facilitate patients to self-care and provide end of life care is appropriate, providing support and personalised self-mangement plans.
Patients who would benefit from this approach are identified using the BUPA Health Dialogue risk stratification tool. Patients are assessed and admitted to the virtual ward if appropriate.
Patients discharged from the service go back to the care of their GP practice. Alternatively they will be part of a 'step down pathway' where their condition is managed by an integrated health team.
The virtual ward also offers an 'admission prevention' service for patients experiencing an exacerbation or deterioration of their condition. This includes rapid access to the nursing team seven days a week from 8.30am to 12pm; providing advice and support to prevent hospital admission.