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COVID oximetry@home

Here you will find key information about ‘COVID oximetry@home’ (also known as COVID virtual wards), including links to relevant resources.

The West of England AHSN is supporting the continued set-up of ‘COVID oximetry@home’ services in our region. Our local support offer makes use of our existing expertise, infrastructure and resources.

Read our latest briefing paper to find out more and watch our recent webinar below, jointly organised with South West AHSN, and featuring Matt Inada-Kim, National Clinical Lead Deterioration/Sepsis, as well as learning from local pilots. The slide deck featured in this webinar is available to download here.

COVID oximetry@home: Webinar time stamps

Webinar Intro and welcome– Natasha Swinscoe – 00:00 – 4:26
Webinar speaker and agenda overview – Anita Randon – 4:27 – 6:10
National evidence and policy on COVID & Oximetry – “How / Where / When / What” Matt Inada-Kim – 6:10 – 29:08
Evaluation of National Pilots – Karen Kirkham’s slides delivered by Matt Inada-Kim – 29:09 – 34:28
Gloucestershire Primary Care Pilot – Malcolm Gerald & Kelly Matthews – 35:01 – 55:15
AHSNs offer – Anne Pullyblank – 56:01 – 58:31
Q&A – Chaired by Alison Tavaré – 58:34 – 1:16:34

Pulse Oximetry ordering – Matt Inada-Kim – 59:07 – 1:00:21

  • Fire service / oximetry distribution – Matt Inada-Kim – 1:00:21 – 1:02:04
  • Desaturation / silent hypoxia – Mark Juniper – 1:02:27 – 1:04:50
  • Referral information – Kelly Matthews – 1:05:17 – 1:07:28
  • Digital – Stuart Monk – 1:07:30 – 1:09:39
  • Students – Matt Inada-Kim – 1:10:36-1:11-39
  • Referral criteria thresholds and other key considerations – Matt Inada-Kim – 1:12:17 – 1:13:26
  • Mental Health/Learning Disabilities/Social Care – Matt Inada-Kim – 1:13:48 – 1:15:44

Webinar wrap up and how to contact the AHSNs – Anita Randon – 1:16:34 – Close

Initially, we are carrying out a rapid diagnostic / scoping exercise to understand the prevalence and uptake of virtual ward based models across the West of England. This will swiftly lead us to work with individual systems as scoping is completed, and support will be provided tailored to both the findings of the rapid diagnostics and local ambitions.

What is a COVID virtual ward?

The COVID virtual ward describes an enhanced package of monitoring (of symptoms and oxygen saturations) for patients with confirmed/ suspected COVID-19 who are at risk of future deterioration/ admission, provided within a patient’s own home (or usual residence) overseen by a multidisciplinary team (MDT) from either the community or hospital.

Is there national guidance available?

Visit the NHS England website here for further information.

The ‘Covid Early Warning System’ is based on a special package of remote monitoring and follow up of high-risk patients for oxygen levels and symptoms of COVID-19. View the HSJ online resources produced with Matt Inada-Kim here.

Home implementation support 

The HSJ have produced a suite of short training/information videos. These explain the background information for COVID oximetry@home models based on first wave pilots highlighting Oxygen levels as a key indicator for deterioration in COVID-19, and why patients need to be monitored for silent hypoxia. The videos describe to GPs, Nurses, Paramedics and Care home staff how this can be done across the system to safeguard patients at home in COVID oximetry@home virtual wards. Watch here.

Click on the links below to find out more about the different phases of implementing COVID oximetry@home with our COVID oximetry@home implementation support pack. 

Phase 1
Phase 1: preparing the System
Phase 2
Phase 2: rapid implementation
Phase 3: ongoing sustainability

Where is the evidence?

Dr Matt Inada-Kim is one of the authors of a pre-print publication examining home saturation in COVID confirmed cases as a trigger for initial hospital assessment. Read it here.

The early identification of deterioration in suspected COVID-19 patients managed at home enables a more timely clinical intervention, which is likely to translate into improved outcomes. The authors undertook an analysis of COVID-19 patients conveyed by ambulance to hospital to investigate how oxygen saturation and measurements of other vital signs correlate to patient outcomes, to ascertain if clinical deterioration can be predicted with simple community physiological monitoring.

What is the national AHSN Network response?

The AHSN Network have convened a rapid learning and sharing network to support the pilot sites, and the development of a COVID virtual ward toolkit available on the FutureNHS collaboration platform.

If you currently have access to this platform, log on and click on ‘My Workspaces’, then ‘Find a Workspace’ and search for ‘National Patient Deterioration Forum’. Once access is granted, click on the ‘COVID 19 Virtual Ward Toolkit’.

For those not on FutureNHS, you can register if you have an NHS email address.  Register for an account here (using your NHS email address) and request access to the National Patient Deterioration Forum. Once access is granted, click on the link in the forum for COVID 19 Virtual Ward Toolkit.

Our colleagues in Oxford AHSN recently hosted a webinar sharing examples of innovative ways to assess and manage patients with suspected COVID-19 in the community. You can watch a recording of the webinar here. It was chaired by Meghana Pandit, Medical Director of Oxford University Hospitals with colleague Andrew Brent who is a Consultant in Infectious Diseases & General Internal Medicine. The webinar included contributions from Matt Inada-Kim, Lalitha Iyer, Andy Walden, Dan Lasserson and Trish Greenhalgh, exploring the key emerging themes around virtual wards.

Get in touch

For more information about COVID oximetry@home and the support available from the West of England AHSN, please email Nathalie Delaney at

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