VULNERABLE patients in West Lancashire who have tested positive for COVID-19 could avoid the need to visit hospital thanks to the ‘Pulse Oximetry at Home’ service being rolled out in the region.
The at-home monitoring service was developed by NHS Trusts alongside GP Practices and local providers.
It is available for adults with a positive COVID-19 test result who are identified as being clinically vulnerable to having low blood oxygen levels.
A Pulse Oximeter is a small, lightweight device that is used to monitor the amount of oxygen carried in a person’s body.
Using this remote monitoring service, healthcare professionals will monitor patients over the phone or through a mobile phone app, and patients will use the Pulse Oximeter to measure the oxygen levels in their blood several times a day.
If GPs and other clinical staff can identify COVID-positive patients with low oxygen levels early, there are proven treatments that improve survival rates, the chance of recovery and reduce the need for a stay in hospital. It can also help to reduce the length of stay that a person might need if they do go into hospital.
The service helps to identify silent hypoxia, a condition where a person’s body is starved of oxygen without causing noticeable symptoms such as breathlessness. Using the Pulse Oximeter, a drop in levels is identified sooner, leading to earlier treatment in a more-timely manner.
Enabling patients to use Pulse Oximeters in their own homes, and the sharing of positive COVID-19 test results with GPs, will ensure that the most vulnerable people in local communities receive the support they need to manage their condition from home.
Claire Heneghan, chief nurse at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Since the programme started rolling out at the end of last year, many patients in the West Lancashire area have used the Pulse Oximetry at Home service. The service has allowed us to monitor patients in their own homes while also avoiding putting further pressure on hospitals.
“By delivering the service at home we have been able to keep patients safe and comfortable within their own environment, but with the knowledge that further support is available and swift action can be taken should it be necessary.
The Pulse Oximetry at Home service in West Lancashire is being provided by the Telehealth team at Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust working in partnership with NHS West Lancashire CCG GP practices.
Patients who have tested positive will be contacted by the Telehealth team to onboard them to the Pulse Oximetry at Home service.