Queenscourt Virtual Ward – A Tangible Success

Community | 23 November 2023

Queenscourt Virtual Ward – A Tangible Success

The idea and development of a Queenscourt Virtual Ward began in Autumn 2022 when Virtual Wards started to become an integral part of the NHS services. The Queenscourt Virtual Ward model has been developed following feedback from patients and bereaved families which highlighted the need for same day assessment and increased holistic care during periods of crisis, in order to reduce the need for hospital admission.

A Virtual Ward supports patients who would otherwise be in hospital, to receive the care and treatment they need in their own home by providing an increased level of intervention and support during an acute symptomatic episode.

The aim of the Queenscourt Virtual ward is therefore to provide an alternative to hospital or hospice in-patient admission. It delivers this by providing a same day assessment and a brief intensive specialist palliative care intervention for patients in crisis or with complex needs.

The Queenscourt Virtual Ward also offers patients choice by providing care which aligns with the clinical needs, values, wishes and preferences of each individual patient, for example, to receive care at home or in a care home.

Following several months of planning, the launch of the Queenscourt Virtual Ward pilot project commenced in July 2023 across West Lancashire, Southport and Formby. The Virtual Ward project is a collaboration between Queenscourt Hospice and Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board.

Now several months into the pilot programme, we are delighted to share the initial results and impact of the Queenscourt Virtual Ward.

Over the first four months of the pilot project, there have been 192 admissions to the Queenscourt Virtual Ward with an occupancy rate of over 80% – resulting in 574 hospital in-patient bed days saved.

It has also resulted in 81% of patients being able to remain in their usual place of residence, with only two admitted to hospital and 24 admissions to Queenscourt’s in-patient unit.

This means that most patients were able to remain in their own home, or preferred place of residence, whilst receiving the usual standard of exceptional palliative care from #teamqueenscourt.

In October the Queenscourt Virtual Ward pilot expanded to support up to10 patients across West Lancashire, Southport and Formby, and has begun to support some early discharges from hospital.

The pilot will run for 12 months, during which time we aim to demonstrate positive impact on patient care that will secure long-term funding across West Lancashire, Southport and Formby for this vital support service.

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