Respiratory nurses from Stevenage’s Lister Hospital to showcase virtual COVID-19 clinic at national conference

PUBLISHED: 15:01 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:01 13 August 2020

The respiratory clinical nurse specialist team, based at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

The respiratory clinical nurse specialist team, based at Lister Hospital in Stevenage. Picture: East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

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A team of respiratory nurses at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital have been invited to speak at a national conference this week, after setting up a successful virtual clinic to support COVID-19 patients discharged from hospital.

The telephone clinic launched in March, with the aim of ensuring patients were continuing to improve after their stay at Lister – and to quickly identify those who needed further care if their condition deteriorated.

One of the first consultations identified a patient who was struggling with their symptoms, so they were asked to attend the emergency department. On arrival, the patient was immediately intubated and admitted to critical care.

The patient subsequently made a full recovery and returned home – a demonstration of the impact of the virtual clinic.

For those who have tested positive for COVID-19 – or where it is highly suspected – a respiratory clinical nurse specialist will call the patient the day after leaving hospital, and follow up again two days later and again after a week.

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By the end of June, 733 patients had been contacted by the virtual clinic and staff had conducted more than 1,500 calls.

Patients were most likely to be called three times before they were discharged from the service, although a small number received six calls before the team were satisfied.

Up to the end of June, 33 patients who were contacted by the virtual clinic had to be readmitted to hospital – with seven identified by the respiratory clinical nurse specialist team.

These findings were part of an article written by four members of the respiratory nurse team which has been published in the Nursing Times. Following its publication, the team have now been invited to make a presentation about the virtual clinic at the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists’ virtual conference on Friday, August 14.

Sarah Lewis, who will be speaking alongside her colleague Angela Blundell, said: “The virtual COVID-19 clinic has given us the opportunity to ensure our patients are safe after discharge and provides reassurance to those isolated at this difficult time.

“As a team we have worked extremely hard to ensure this service can run effectively. We are hugely encouraged by the positive feedback we have had and hope it will inspire other services.”


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