Virtual ward praised for boosting patient’s recovery at home

Date: 18 January 2024

Carole and the SMART team

A long-serving NHS worker-turned patient has thanked Medway Maritime Hospital’s virtual ward team for helping her get back on her feet, in familiar surroundings at home, after a major operation.

Carole Jordan, aged 62 from Chatham, spent just two days in hospital following a hip replacement. She praised virtual ward staff for their ‘’kind care’’ and ‘’professionalism’’.

Carole, who has worked at the hospital as a ward clerk for more than 20 years, said: ‘’Having had a hip replacement, I spent a couple days in hospital on Ocelot Ward. Then, the virtual ward team looked after me at home. The experience was excellent. I give my sincere thanks to everyone involved. A physio therapist, clinical support worker and clinical sister monitored me at my house. They were all very knowledgeable with their advice and helped ease my worries.’’

‘’The staff were so kind and patient with me, and their professionalism really stood out. Despite working at the hospital myself for so many years, I didn’t know much about this service, but now I would recommend it to anyone.’’

Patients using the hospital’s virtual ward are cared for by the Surgical, Medical and Acute Recovery Team (SMART Team) which is made up of nurses, consultants and therapists who provide a range of nursing, therapy care and remote monitoring using state-of-the-art technology. This allows patients to continue their recovery at home safely and conveniently, rather than being in hospital.

Last year the SMART Team played a major role in helping the NHS deliver its national ambition of rolling out 10,000 virtual beds, and it continues to care for hundreds of patients every month through remote monitoring and home visits. During a six-month period alone last winter, Medway’s team cared for 356 patients, and performed 2,400 visits, with many done virtually through the use of remote monitoring, video and telephone calls. As well as it being better for patients, it helped save more than £100,000 of costs associated with a hospital ward stay. On average a hospital ward stay costs £657 a day, compared to £187 in a virtual ward.

Jayne Black, Chief Executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are extremely proud of the excellent and innovative work of our virtual ward service. It is vital for us here in Medway and the wider NHS, as it helps free up hospital beds and reduce the time patients spend in hospital. This is particularly important during the challenging winter months.’’

  • Summary:

    A long-serving hospital worker-turned patient has thanked Medway Maritime Hospital’s virtual ward team for helping her get back on her feet, in familiar surroundings at home, after a major operation.