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Virtual Ward: information for Health Professionals

Virtual Ward: information for Health Professionals

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The information on this page is intended for healthcare professional use only.

The goal of virtual wards is to provide monitoring and treatment in patient’s own home or place of residence.

Virtual Wards deliver care for patients who would otherwise have to be treated in hospital’ – NHS England

Virtual Ward common referrals

  • COPD
    • Early supported discharges
  • Delirium
    • Patients needing ongoing support after 48 hours
  • Frailty
    • Patients with frailty related condition
  • IV therapy
    • Diuretics, antibiotics, zoledronic acid – see separate pathways
  • Mental Health
    • Patients physically impacted by ongoing mental health issues – not resolved within 48 hours
  • Fractured Neck of Femur
    • Post-surgical intervention early supported discharge – see separate pathway
  • Ward Discharges
    • Requiring Early supported discharges

Virtual Ward inclusion criteria

  • Otherwise would be in a hospital bed
  • Must require consultant level management (ACP’s)
  • Require Multi-disciplinary approach
  • Short term duration up to 14 days
  • Adults aged 18 or over and reside in the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven area
  • Must have an Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven GP

Virtual Ward exclusion criteria

  • Requiring social package of care
  • Non Multi-disciplinary approach
  • Only requires a social package of care
  • Discharge to assess / environmental visits
  • Must have an Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven GP

Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven GP List

Wharfedale, Airedale and Craven Alliance (WACA)

Addingham (Ilkley)

Dyneley House (Skipton)

Grange Park (Burley in Wharfedale)

IG Medical (Ilkley & Grassington)

Ilkley and Wharfedale (Ilkley)

Ling House (Keighley)

Townhead Surgery and Branch (Settle)



Crosshills Group Practise

Farfield Group Practise (Keighley)

Fisher Medical Centre (Skipton)

Haworth Medical Practise

Holycroft Surgery (Keighley)

Kilmeny Group Medical Practise (Keighley)

Long Lee Surgery (Keighley)

Oakworth Medical Practise (Keighley)

Silsden Surgery

Steeton Surgery

How to refer patients onto the Virtual Ward

Virtual Ward referrals can be submitted by calling the Digital Hub on 01535 292 797, 24-hours, seven days a week.

IV therapy referrals can be submitted by calling the dedicated number 07768 600 439, 8am – 6pm, seven days a week.

Bradford on Duty

Our very own Collaborative Care Team featured in the BBC2 series Bradford on Duty.

The episode ‘Healthy at Home’ followed Davy and Chelsea and other staff from our team as they visited patients to keep them healthy in their own home, avoiding the need for them to be admitted to hospital.

You can watch the episode on BBC iPlayer.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)


What is the ‘Virtual Ward’?

Like a hospital ward, the capacity of the ward is set, and patients are admitted and discharged from those beds. The ward is termed ‘virtual’ as these beds are not real, and care takes place in the most appropriate setting for the patient, usually at home.

Our Virtual Ward currently has 30 beds across Airedale, Wharfedale, Craven and care is provided by the Collaborative Care Teams (CCTs), based at both Airedale and Skipton Hospitals.

The CCT is a multi-disciplinary team who can provide assessment / diagnosis / planning / health and care interventions to patients that would otherwise be in hospital. The patients would usually require face to face visits from the team to provide the plans of care and treatment they require.

How are patients’ health needs managed on the Virtual Ward?

Health related interventions are dependent upon individual assessment of needs and may include some or all the following (but not exhaustive):

  • National Early Warning Score and monitoring condition.
  • chest auscultation
  • A-E assessments
  • Assessments of mobility and activity of daily living.
  • Mental health and capacity assessments
  • Equipment reviews and provision
  • Advanced physical assessments
  • Administration of IV antibiotics/ medications
  • Assistance with medications
  • Medication reviews
  • Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.
  • Phlebotomy and blood results review.

How are patients care needs managed whilst on the Virtual Ward?

If a patient has a care package already provided by adult social care or a private care provider, then this will continue, and we will provide the health needs acting as a ‘wraparound’ whilst the patient has increased needs.

If the patient does not have a package of care the Virtual Ward will meet the care needs in the short term. If upon assessment the care needs are long term the team will refer to Social Services

How does the Virtual Ward operate?

The teams have twice daily MDT handovers to discuss all the patients on the Virtual Ward.

Dependent upon the Patient’s needs, they will receive a daily face to face visit from the most appropriate staff members from the MDT.  See our link above to an episode of Bradford on Duty which shows some members of our team in action.

There is a clear escalation process if the patient’s condition changes. Advanced clinical practitioners work within the teams and provide, oversight, advice, support, management plans and advanced assessments where needed.

What are the Benefits of the Virtual Ward?

The Virtual Ward enables patients to have time back with family, delivers cost savings, reduces pressure on hospital beds.

What is the average length of stay in a virtual ward?

The average stay is nine days.

What are social holds as opposed to a Virtual Ward?

When the patients’ needs are only care needs and therefore can be provided by social services. Just like on a hospital ward, a patient can become criteria to discharge.