‘Virtual wards’ come to Kirkcaldy area

Hospital At Home team, Kirkcaldy.
Hospital At Home team, Kirkcaldy.

AN innovative new care service is to be rolled out in the Kirkcaldy area after coming through a highly successful trial.

NHS Fife’s Hospital at Home service will treat suitable patients in the comfort of their own properties, or in their care home, providing the same level of care that they could be expected to receive if they were in hospital.

Initially, patients in the area - and also in Levenmouth where the service is also being rolled out - will be referred from hospital wards.

This will enable suitable patients to get back to their own routine and familiar surroundings with family and friends on hand .

This has been demonstrated to aid their recovery, while still providing them with the same level of care as they would get had they completed their recovery on the ward.

The scheme sees a team of nurses, healthcare support workers, GPs and a consultant catering for the needs of patients. NHS Fife says the creation of ‘virtual wards’ in patients’ homes has helped keep hundreds of elderly Fifers out of hospital.

Some 7,500 people aged over 75 are admitted to hospital in the Kingdom each year.

And Hospital at Home has cared for 335 people since it was launched around12 months ago.

It is claimed the service helps patients to remain independent longer. And it is hoped that many more patients will benefit when the service is rolled out Fife-wide over the coming months.

Dr Angela Wilkinson, consultant physician with NHS Fife,said: “The service has been operating in Dunfermline and West Fife over the past year and we have had considerable and positive feedback from patients and their families and we are now delighted to be expanding this service into Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth.

“We are fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and highly skilled team which includes nursing staff, clinical support workers, allied health professionals, medical staff, pharmacy colleagues and an administration team.

“We look forward to this next stage in the development of Hospital at Home service across Fife.”

The highly skilled team has rapid access to everything a patient may possibly require to complete their recovery at home, including equipment, investigations, treatment and therapies.

Alastair Robertson, Kirkcaldy and Levenmouth Community Health Partnership chairman, said: “I’m delighted that NHS Fife’s innovative Hospital at Home service is coming to our area.

“Providing hospital care in patients’ homes, or where they normally live, is a very important step forward in patient centred care.

“It enables patients to receive a high standard of care, maintain maximum independence and regain their normal health with a minimum of disruption to normal family life.”

Fife’s scheme is modelled on a similar service in Torfaen, Wales. It was developed using the Scottish Government’s £5 million Change Fund allocation for Fife, aimed at re-designing services for older people in the Kingdom.

Among those eligible to benefit from the service are victims of falls and people suffering from delirium, worsening chronic disease symptoms or skin infections.