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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

Innovative virtual wards project wins top recognition at NELFT

Photo of team working on Virtual Wards, NELFT logos and dark blue NHS background

The North East London NHS Foundation Trust is part of an innovative virtual ward project that aims to reduce hospitalisations, waiting times and costs.

The virtual ward for acute respiratory infections has been established to support patients - who would otherwise be in hospital - to receive acute care, monitoring and treatment in their own home. 

Also known as hospital at home, virtual wards can prevent avoidable admissions but also support early discharge in case of hospitalisation. They are a safe and efficient alternative to NHS bedded care that is enabled by innovative technology and virtual monitoring equipment. 

The project started operating remotely in December 2023, in collaboration with BHRUT, and is run by a multi-disciplinary team of nurses, physiotherapists and a respiratory consultant. The team won in the Outstanding Achievement category at the recent Make a Difference Awards for the excellent support provided to 32 patients who would otherwise be in hospital, in their own homes. 

Through personalised care plans and constant remote monitoring through WHZAN blue box, the team provide a seamless transition from hospital to home, ensuring continuity of care and promoting patient independence.

Positive outcomes include improved access to healthcare services, especially for patients in remote areas or those with mobility limitations. Patients appreciate the convenience of virtual consultations, reduced wait times, and personalised care plans tailored to their needs.

The aim is to reduce the need for hospital admissions and emergency department visits, by closely monitoring patients' conditions and intervening early.

The virtual ward model can lead to cost savings for both patients and healthcare providers by minimising unnecessary healthcare utilisation and optimising resource allocation.

Mangalaram Sadhasivam, Clinical Lead at the NELFT Respiratory Virtual Ward, said: 

"Being in the hospital can be distressing for patients and their families. As advocates for patient-centred care, we believe in meeting patients where they are – both physically and emotionally. 

“Our virtual ward allows us to deliver hospital-level care in the comfort of people’s homes, surrounded by their loved ones, promoting a quicker and smoother recovery process.

“Witnessing the journey patients undergo and the impact that our clinicians’ dedication and support make on their lives, is truly remarkable."

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