Acute Hospital at Home (AHAH)
Our Acute Hospital at Home (AHAH) service, which is nationally referred to as the ‘Virtual Ward’ programme, is a safe and efficient alternative to receiving care as an inpatient on an acute hospital ward.
The service runs across both our Eastern (the services formerly known as the RD&E), and our Northern services (the services formerly known as NDHT).
If you are referred to our service, you will receive the same care, monitoring and treatment that you would from an acute hospital bed or from a local community service, but from the comfort of your own home.
Our team, which includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and clinical support workers, will be in touch with you on a regular basis throughout the day, and can be contacted 24 hours a day.
You can learn more about our AHAH (virtual ward) and how virtual wards work in this video:
How does it work?
Our multidisciplinary team will monitor you at home using the latest digital health techniques, which includes smart phone apps, technology platforms and wearable medical devices, such as blood pressure machines and pulse oximeters.
At the same time, the team will check in with you by phone call, and where appropriate some face-to-face care may be given by a multidisciplinary team based in your local community or our dedicated ambulatory areas.
Your progress will be discussed daily with our consultant and your progress closely reviewed, and you will be advised of any changes to your treatment plan.
If things change and you feel worse, or if your readings do not look right, you may be asked to come back into the hospital. Where necessary, we can then readmit you to our acute hospital services. The aim is that you will be safely discharged to your GP on completion of your care.
Who can be referred to our AHAH service?
The decision to refer people is taken on a patient by patient basis to make sure that every patient receives the very best of care tailored to their individual needs. Care is designed to be patient and family centred in partnership with the team.
You may be referred to our service if you have one of the following and, perhaps with the support of a carer or family member, are able to care for yourself at home:
At both our Eastern and Northern sites, we can treat people with:
- Heart failure
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Acute kidney injury
- Outpatient Parenteral Antibiotic Therapy (OPAT)
In Eastern, we can also treat people with:
- Non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI)
In Northern, we can also treat people with:
What do our patients say about the AHAH service?
Sally and Vienna, who were referred to AHAH, share their experiences of using the service.
Why is our AHAH service important?
We know that being treated in your own home can have a hugely positive impact –you can continue with your daily routine and make choices about what you can eat and wear, with the people you know and love around you. There is good evidence that patients on virtual wards have better outcomes than those treated in hospital.
All of this leads to a better chance of recovery for our patients.
In addition, by freeing up hospital beds and creating more capacity, this improves the flow of patients through the Royal Devon acute hospitals, easing pressures on our emergency departments and helping to reduce waiting times for both planned and emergency care.