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Covid Oximetry @home

pulse oximeter

AHSNs are playing a key role in the spread of the NHS COVID Oximetry @home initiative. Patients are supported to self-monitor at home using pulse oximeters which detect any decline in condition and can trigger escalation to hospital.

Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs), part of AHSNs, have been commissioned to scale up this approach at pace across England.

COVID Oximetry @home (CO@h) – sometimes called ‘Covid virtual wards’ – describes an enhanced package of monitoring (of symptoms and oxygen saturations) for patients at risk of future deterioration/admission, provided within a patient’s own home (or usual residence) overseen by a multidisciplinary team from either the community or hospital.

NHS England/Improvement wrote to all clinical commissioning groups and trusts in November 2020 to encourage the development of local CO@h projects. This followed the publication of national guidance.

There is an active discussion forum on FutureNHS (registration required) which includes our toolkit and a growing library of resources from across the country. Evaluation reports from pilot sites are also being shared on this forum. These include Slough and Reading in our region and this evaluation from University College London.

To suCovid-19 patient pathways webinar pport the spread of these models of care that have been piloted around the country, we hosted a webinar in September 2020: ‘Innovations in Covid-19 Patient Pathways’ which showcased examples from around our region of innovative ways of assessing and managing patients with suspected Covid-19 in the community. A recording is available here.

We are now working with colleagues from Wessex and Kent Surrey Sussex AHSNs to implement this model of care across the NHS South East region.

Dr Raghu Raju, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said:The Oxford AHSN was one of the key driving forces behind the setting up of the CO@h pathway at Bucks Healthcare and they are in the process of achieving the same feat in primary care. They had huge expertise in this sector, experience of having worked in other centres and, most importantly, a keen interest in getting it to work and work well. They were instrumental in the structure of the pathway, guided us through latest developments on this ever-changing topic and even provided expert administrative support. Further continued support in future is very welcome.” 

Dr Dal Sahota, Clinical Director for Unplanned Acute Care, Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The Oxford  AHSN team has been incredible to work with. It is not often commissioners are offered proactive human resource and we have certainly welcomed the support. Jo Murray and her team have shared practical examples of successful delivery of virtual wards from elsewhere, they have been facilitative and allowed the Buckinghamshire team to develop a pathway that is bespoke for our population. Having the pre-existing project knowledge, experience, and hands-on admin, as well as strategic support, has ensured the prompt delivery of this national requirement. They have demonstrated the importance of shared system learning to improve and disseminate best practice. Thank you and we look forward to continued collaborative efforts.”