Virtual wards enable healthcare professionals to provide hospital-level support and treatment to patients in the comfort of their own homes, avoiding the need to stay in a hospital bed. 

The NHS is increasingly introducing virtual wards to support people at the place they call home, including care homes.

Virtual wards in Kent and Medway provide support for patients who have a wide range of medical needs, including frailty and respiratory issues. Treatment is also provided for children, patients with heart problems and patients who are recovering from surgery.

There are also plans for additional treatment pathways to be rolled out in the future. 
In a virtual ward, new technologies such as wearable devices that monitor oxygen and blood pressure, provide real-time information relating to patients’ vital signs to a dedicated remote team of healthcare professionals. The technology enables healthcare professionals to monitor their condition and be able to direct care and support, either virtually, or face-to-face when needed.

The number of patients cared for through virtual wards across Kent and Medway has continued to increase, helping provide additional support during the pressures faced by the NHS. Around 9,500 people have been cared for in a virtual ward since the programme began in April 2022. By the end of March 2023, we anticipate that around 1,300 patients will be treated each month.

The Hospital at Home Team covers a range of services including chronic respiratory illnesses, outpatient antibiotic therapy service, frailty, and everything in between which requires hospital-level interventions but can be done at the patient’s own home. The service went live on 1 August 2008 and has a capacity of 40 beds, which is being expanded further. To date, there have been more than 1,500 patients through our service.

Find out more about virtual wards on the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Foundation Trust website.

The Surgical, Medical and Acute Recovery Team (SMART Team) continues to facilitate the virtual ward at Medway NHS Foundation Trust for up to 30 patients. The nurse-led service provides a range of acute nursing, therapy care and remote monitoring care that allows patients to continue cute recovery within their own home. The service runs seven days a week, from 8am to 6pm, caring for patients in Medway and Swale who are recovering from a range of conditions and treatments.

You can also find more information on the Medway NHS Foundation Trust and Medway Community Healthcare websites.

We'll have more information on virtual wards in east Kent soon, please check back.

We'll have more information on virtual wards in west Kent soon, please check back.