Background The Warrington Integrated Palliative Care Hub (WIPCH) launched in March 2020 as a test concept and became an integral part of service delivery. Service review indicated the next phase would be development of a Palliative Virtual Ward (PVW) offering additional support to complex and other palliative patients and preventing hospital admission. Following review of experience and learning, a bid was submitted to develop a 10-bedded Palliative Virtual Ward offering additional support through a 14-day plan of care.
Aims By mobilising this model, multiple levels of monitoring are deployed dependent on patient need, with a variety of access points and escalation managed via a single digital platform. This proposal achieves against NHSE/I service priorities and is consistent with the national hospice @home model at level 4 and Cheshire & Merseycare’s strategic intent.
Methods Evaluation will combine quantitative and qualitative data aligned to the Better Care impacts to improve experience, resource utilisation and outcomes. The data will include: patient experience, demographics and processes.
Results WIPCH launched the Palliative Virtual Ward on 25 April 2022. The pilot operating model clearly defines criteria for admission, discharge and plans of care to support patient flow. The development of the Palliative Virtual Ward will provide opportunity to deliver on five of the six ‘Ambitions of Palliative Care and End of Life Care, 2021-2026’ and will be integral part of the strategy for Warrington 2022-2026.
Conclusion The 12 month pilot will provide the blueprint for development of a standardised operating model for further virtual wards across Warrington. This prototype model will inform the development of virtual wards in line with the national ambition for Integrated Care Systems to work towards the comprehensive development of 40 to 50 virtual ward ‘beds’ per 100,000 population by year end 2023.
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