Services have been driven forward with a digital model using different apps and IT services. Adam Wickenden explains a MDT approach and management of Long Covid patients
15 months ago, I was given the opportunity to operationally manage the Long Covid service for North East London/Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trusts. This was at a time when the trust was about to be inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and when the omicron variant was upon us.
The Long Covid service was primarily set up as a community-based service with waiting lists in its hundreds!
It became apparent the service couldn’t continue in its current trajectory with ever-growing waiting lists and the difficulty in recruiting staff to vacant posts. It was decided to move from a community-based approach to healthcare professionals delivering courses digitally.
Our digital Long Covid pathway was designed around three core principles:
- personalised care.
- multidisciplinary and rehabilitation.
- supporting and enabling self-care.
Alongside our digital groups, we offer patients access to the Living With App. This app has useful tools for patients to read and map their progress. It also allows our clinicians to monitor patients within our service and communicate directly with them as and when required.
We’ve published a report with our local Healthwatch which shows our service is well evaluated by service-users in line with our own outcome measures.
There was an element of scepticism amongst the staff moving from a service delivery module that operated seeing patients face-to-face to a new way of working delivering a large element of healthcare digitally.
The results were staggering – throughout the last 12 months, we’ve managed to screen, onboard, and deliver treatment to over 800 patients through our digital pathway with over 700 discharges in the last 12 months.
Our service also meets government guidelines that patients be assessed and offered treatment within six weeks of referral. 2022 was challenging but rewarding - creating a digital-based platform fit for patients in the 21st century.
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