New technology is helping to reduce pressure on hospital beds in Merseyside by allowing COVID-19 patients to be monitored and cared for in their own homes.
Mersey Care NHS Foundation launched a pilot of the COVID Oximetry@Home service in April and began accepting referrals from primary care last month. The trust is planning to do the same for patients who have presented to A&E departments.
The initiative, in partnership with digital health company Docobo and part of Mersey Care’s Telehealth Service, is expected to monitor up to 500 Liverpool patients a day, either through an app on a smart phone or tablet, as well as via Careportals.
Joe Rafferty, Mersey Care’s chief executive, said: “The great thing about this is that it enables patients either with COVID-19, or those suspected of having it, to be cared for in the community rather than adding to the pressure on hospital beds.
“It allows the nurse, carer or patient to record vital signs such as blood oxygen levels that can help identify silent hypoxia at home and any signs of deterioration in their condition so we can get appropriate medical care to them.”
The COVID Oximetry@Home service is currently available to all Liverpool CCG patients but Mersey Care is working with other CCGs from across Cheshire and Merseyside to set up referral pathways to support their patients.
Rafferty added: “We’ve been working hard to try and reduce pressure on hospital admissions and this new service will provide real time support for all our vulnerable patients and those who may be shielding throughout the region.”
Rob Halhead, chief operating officer at Docobo, said: “For us at Docobo it’s a privilege to work with the NHS team in Liverpool and across the region. This collaboration is delivering better health care and is helping the whole ecosystem to cope with the demands and pressures of the pandemic.
“This technology-enabled service means people stay at home and go to hospital less often. Early signs of deterioration being detected leads to early intervention. Everyone’s winning.”
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