Virtual wards

Telephone number and opening times

Call 01726 873 400.

Open 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm. Outside these hours if you feel unwell call 111 or 999.

What is a virtual ward?

A virtual ward allows you to receive care at home as an alternative to being in hospital.

What happens on a virtual ward?

As a patient on the virtual ward, you stay in the comfort of your own home or place of care. Our healthcare staff will check your condition remotely until you are better. Regular monitoring means we will pick it up early if you become unwell. If this happens, we will make sure you can access hospital care quickly and in a planned way.

If appropriate, we will loan you the device(s) you need to check your condition at home. This could be a pulse oximeter which allows us to measure your blood oxygen level. You send the readings from the device to the virtual ward staff. If your readings get worse, the team may contact you. They will give you support and advice on what to do next.

We will explain how to use the device(s), how to send in your readings, and how they will get in touch.

We will tell you what to do if you feel unwell. We will tell you when you have recovered. This will mean you can stop monitoring.

When you have recovered, we will arrange to collect our equipment from you.

If you live alone, ask a friend, family member, or neighbour to check up on you. Volunteer Cornwall can offer help through their care support volunteer network. Call Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 265 305.

Carers UK has produced a helpful virtual wards checklist for carers. The checklist will help to answer any questions, worries or concerns about virtual wards. It can also help you feel more empowered to speak to the healthcare team setting up the virtual ward.

Support for chest infections

If you have a chest infection, this may be due to COVID-19 or another virus or bacteria. If your NHS team believes your condition is stable, this means you can continue your recovery at home with monitoring and support. We can provide this to you at home and it can stop you from being admitted into hospital or allow you to go home earlier. We call this a virtual ward.

If you have COVID-19

If you have COVID-19 you should follow national COVID-19 guidance.

Support for frailty

We use the word frailty to described your overall resilience and your ability to recover when you have been unwell.

In practice being frail means that a minor health problem like a urinary tract infection can have a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing.

Frailty is not the same as living with 1 or more long-term conditions. They often overlap but you may not have a diagnosed health condition.

Being at home, surrounded by your support network and home comforts will aid your recovery, that is why if we can, we will provide your care at home through the virtual ward.

Sharing information

We will tell other health and care staff about your treatment on the virtual ward. This helps ensure we provide you with the best care.

What to do if you feel unwell

If your symptoms quickly get worse, use this information to assess yourself.

Go to the emergency department immediately or call 999 if:

  • you’re so breathless that you’re unable to say short sentences when resting
  • your breathing suddenly gets worse
  • you cough up blood
  • you feel cold and sweaty with pale or blotchy skin
  • you develop a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it
  • you collapse or faint
  • you feel agitated, confused, or very drowsy
  • you’ve stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual

Find your nearest emergency department.

Ring your virtual ward team or 111 as soon as possible if:

  • you gradually feel more unwell or more breathless
  • you have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
  • you feel very weak, achy, or tired
  • you’re shaking or shivering
  • you’ve lost your appetite
  • you sense that something is wrong
  • you’re unable to care for yourself, for example you are unable to wash or dress yourself, or make a meal or snack

Call the virtual ward on 01726 873 400. The virtual ward is open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week. Outside these hours call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website.

How to tell if you are feeling better

If you are recovering, you should:

  • notice a gradual improvement in how you feel
  • you will be mobile for example will be able to climb the stairs (if this is normal for you)
  • you will not be confused
  • you'll be eating and drinking as normal