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Windermere couple praises new UHMBT ‘Virtual Ward’ care

7 November 2022

A new ‘Virtual Ward’ service provided by University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been praised by a Windermere couple. 

Roger and Patricia Bottomley have shared their experience after Patricia broke four toes in a fall at home in July.  

Patricia, 86, was taken by ambulance to Royal Lancaster Infirmary where investigations revealed that she had had a number of mini strokes and was showing early signs of dementia.

After assessment at the hospital’s Acute Frailty Unit, she was referred to the South Lakes Rapid Response Team, and sent home as a patient on the Team’s ‘Virtual Ward’. 

Nurses, occupational therapists and advanced clinical practitioners working with the Virtual Ward meet with a consultant geriatrician daily, offering an enhanced level of care for patients who are able to be cared for safely at home. 

Roger, 81, said: “A nurse from the Virtual Ward came to visit Patricia every day. 

“Team members who visited were excellent – they were very pleasant and caring and made us feel very comfortable. They have been absolutely superb.  

“When Patricia has been in hospital overnight in the past it’s been very, very stressful, but when she’s at home she’s relaxed and comfortable. 

“The Virtual Ward works. I wholeheartedly agree with this kind of home care. It’s the best thing that could have happened to us. I've got my wife back, and I can’t thank them enough for that.” 

UHMBT is introducing the service as part of a national drive to introduce Virtual Wards. The Trust currently has capacity to care for up to 27 patients through its virtual wards, and aims to expand to 150 by September 2023. 

Bridget Lees, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “Our Virtual Wards mean we can provide a higher level of care for patients while also offering them the comfort and stability of remaining in their own home. 

“The Virtual Ward system also helps to prioritise hospital beds for people who need them. 

“I am pleased to hear that Mr and Mrs Bottomley had a good experience with our Virtual Ward, and thank our clinical teams for making a success of this innovative way of working.”