COVID @ Home – virtual hospital ward

Supporting people with COVID in a virtual hospital ward at home.


Covid @ Home is an innovative project set up as part of a national directive to support those with COVID-19 via a virtual hospital ward in their home, with a view to freeing up hospital beds and monitoring those recovering from serious COVID-19.

The ward works as either a step-up referral from a GP when someone needs further support, or a step-down after a patient has been discharged from hospital after a COVID infection.

The main aims of the project are to:

  • Free up hospital beds by enabling someone to be discharged earlier into the virtual ward
  • Save lives by continuing to monitor the health of the patient with daily check ins
  • Reduce the risk of Silent Hypoxia when seeming well by measuring the blood oxygen of these patients and monitoring them at home
  • Reduce anxiety levels in patients

Once a patient is referred, they will receive a call to establish their history and any concerns they may have. They will then receive a device to monitor their oxygen and be taught how to use it.

The service then works by either three daily phone-calls, or three text messaging prompts, where the patient can respond with their oxygen levels, heart rate, and how they are feeling generally.

Patients who report feeling worse or who have concerning heart rates or blood oxygen levels will receive a call back from a clinician for further consultation.

Between November 2020 and January 2022, 616 patients were seen on virtual wards in Portsmouth. Following a National Evaluation Report of patient experience, 75% found the service helpful, and 95% would recommend the service.

Feedback from a 70-year-old patient who did not want to be named:

“Having been in hospital feeling quite unwell with COVID it was good that I could come home early by being on the home ward. I felt reassured and it was good to have someone at the end of the phone to speak to about how I was feeling.”

Further information

COVID @ Home can be accessed via a GP referral, the extended access service through a 111 call, or through being discharged from hospital.

If you have concerns and have recently recovered from COVID-19, visit Your COVID Recovery for more information.

COVID @ Home is led by the Portsmouth Primary Care Association (PPCA) with involvement from NHS Portsmouth CCG, HIVE Portsmouth and Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.