NHS organisations in South West collaborate through NHS@Home

Communities across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are to benefit from NHS care in their own homes as part of measures to improve care while helping to alleviate pressure from local hospitals.

The NHS@Home service is a joint initiative formed by local NHS organisations that offers ward-level care within a person’s home; employing remote monitoring as an alternative to hospital admission.

Working from a clinical hub in Bristol, care is provided and overseen by a team of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals using monitoring devices, smartphones and other technology to check a patient’s condition remotely and give clinical support and advice.

Patients using the service are given a tailor-made box of equipment called the ‘Doccla box’, named after the company providing the monitoring technology. The Doccla box includes a pre-configured smartphone with a large font, designed to support access for users with poor vision, and wearable medical devices are also supplied subject to the person’s individual needs. Healthcare professionals can observe a patient’s status through the devices and intervene if necessary, and they can also visit the home to provide face-to-face care if required.

Following a successful first run during the pandemic, the scheme is now being enhanced with extra funding of up to £3.5m during winter 2022-23, to include additional respiratory and heart conditions.

Jen Tomkinson, Head of Specialist Services at Sirona care & health and NHS@Home Joint Clinical Lead for the community said: “We are working with other health care professionals across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to undertake the remote monitoring via a virtual hub in the community as well as face to face visits, if required. It is a great example of collaborative working between health and care organisations, and we have had outstanding feedback from people receiving the service.”