‘Virtual ward’ at Barnsley hospital cuts readmission rates

Audrey Dixon
Audrey Dixon

A South Yorkshire hospital patient has backed a new ‘virtual ward’ scheme designed to cut readmission rates.

Audrey Dixon, aged 77, was admitted to Barnsley Hospital with a suspected stroke or heart attack but, after tests, her condition was diagnosed instead as epilepsy.

The pensioner, from Monk Bretton, was then placed on the ‘virtual ward’, with a nurse assigned to call her every day for a month to check for problems with her medication and respond to queries.

The scheme focuses on patients who are most likely to be readmitted to hospital within 30 days, and was set up in response to an audit into why some people came back so quickly.

Nurses found patients who didn’t fully understand their condition or treatment were most likely to return.

“Knowing there was somebody to contact was marvellous. I felt like I knew exactly what was happening,” said Audrey.