Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has become the first in the West Midlands to offer an innovative early supported discharge service to patients with Covid-19.
The Acute Medicine and Community teams have worked together to launch this service in which patients are taught to take their oxygen readings with a pulse oximeter.
A pulse oximeter is a small, lightweight device used to monitor the amount of oxygen carried in the body. This non-invasive tool attaches painlessly to a patient’s fingertip, sending two wavelengths of light through the finger to measure their pulse rate and how much oxygen is in their system. Once the oximeter finishes its assessment, its screen will display the percent of oxygen in the blood coming from the heart – as well as the patient’s current pulse rate.
Patients are then discharged to their place of residence and the community nursing team will phone three times a day to take readings and check on their general wellbeing.
Concerns are escalated to the Ambulatory Emergency Care medic and a hospital assessment can be arranged as necessary.
Consultant Dr Tazeen Muneer said: “A pulse oximeter empowers our patients at home to self-monitor, spot and act on early deterioration.”
Intermediate Care Services Manager, Donna Roberts added: “The self-care model of self-monitoring through the Pulse Oximeter empowers patients to be cared for virtually in their own home knowing that a healthcare professional will contact them daily rather than being in an acute setting.”
This is a crucial further development to improve care for patients, enable them to return to their homes more quickly and reduce the demands on our inpatient wards.