Patients most at risk of poor outcomes are best identified by oxygen levels. The use of oximetry to monitor and identify ‘silent hypoxia’ and rapid patient deterioration at home is recommended for this group.
Many GP practices, community and secondary care teams already use oximetry to support remote monitoring. Supporting patients out of hospital can lead to reductions in admissions to secondary care, length of stay and admissions to intensive care – as well as providing a stepdown facility for patients discharged from hospital.
Oxford, Wessex and Kent Surrey Sussex AHSNs worked together to support a number of local systems to implement virtual wards at speed as part of a national ‘Covid oximetry @home’ initiative supported by NHS England/Improvement. Read more about the Covid oximetry @home initiative here.
A collaboration between community leaders, GPs, NHS commissioners, researchers and the Oxford AHSN supported groups at greater risk from Covid-19. Pulse oximeters were made freely available at a foodbank, mosque and a homeless shelter linked to a GP practice. Read more about the partnership which distributed pulse oximeters to vulnerable communities in this case study.