By Sophie Davis-Cooper on May 3, 2022
As the NHS grapples with increasing staff shortages, health providers are feeling the pressure to manage patients safely and effectively with fewer resources.
Our in-house Clinical Monitoring Team can provide flexible workforce support, enabling our partners to provide effective virtual care without straining their clinical teams.
We caught up with Karen Moore, Clinical Operations Lead for the team, to find out about her nursing career, retirement re-think, and how the service is supporting the rollout of virtual wards.
Hi Karen, can you start by telling us a bit about your experience in nursing?
I started my nursing career back in 1983. I was a student nurse in Leicester and started my career working in hospitals as a staff nurse.
I spent some time doing educational sessions around spirometry in the community within Leicestershire Partnership Trust. Then, I became team lead for the respiratory team and have done lots of work in pulmonary rehabilitation.
My retirement date came through as the pandemic hit.
How did the pandemic change your plans?
Like so many others, all my retirement plans had to be put on hold and I went back to work for the pulmonary rehabilitation team for two days a week.
Before I started working with Spirit, I thought that my nursing career was over. I felt a bit burnt out. This role has reignited my passion for nursing, it’s nursing in a different way.
Working digitally as a slightly older nurse has shown me that I have a lot of knowledge and there’s still a lot that I can do to support patients.
Tell us more about the Clinical Monitoring Team and what you do?
Essentially, we’re the team that can help to monitor patient data from our remote monitoring and virtual care platform, CliniTouch Vie. We review the answers, decide if any action is needed, and make sure the actions are completed. We’re currently supporting assisted living facilities in Lincolnshire, and monitoring patients on a COVID-19 virtual ward in North West Anglia, supporting the NHS team there.
And what does a typical day look like for you?
I start each day by making sure I’ve got a cup of tea, which is very important, and then open my CliniTouch Vie dashboard to see what data has been uploaded.
In assisted living facilities, there are two question sets to answer. One is a frailty question set which has general questions about people’s eating and drinking, toilet habits, how they’re feeling, those sorts of things. The other is routine observations such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and oxygen saturation.
When both of those are answered, they come through to me to review. If everything is normal and on target, that person will flag in the system as green and I know that everything’s fine.
What if the person doesn’t appear as green?
Anybody that flags as amber or red – that potentially means there’s something happening from a clinical point of view that may need help. The first step is normally to contact the patient or carer to see if they have followed the alert that was on the system, or to discuss the reason for it. Then, depending on the reason, we can escalate if needed.
Can you tell us about a time your team spotted a deteriorating patient?
Last weekend one of our COVID virtual ward patients flagged when the observations were uploaded. When Jill – one of my colleagues – rang the gentleman and chatted to him, his oxygen saturations had dropped right down.
Jill was able to contact the on-call registrar at the hospital and arranged for him to be readmitted.
Whilst the idea behind the virtual ward is to safely monitor people at home, we can recognise deterioration very quickly and will arrange for them to go back into hospital if it’s appropriate to do so.
What impact do you think this is having on the NHS?
We all know that the NHS is in crisis. We have very long waiting lists for just about every service. But what we know from that is we really need to work as hard as we can to try and release capacity. This service helps because it is all about reducing unnecessary out-of-hours usage and visits to GP practices, or hospitals.
How have patients reacted to this digital monitoring?
We’ve had some lovely feedback from the patients that have said how supported they feel by this service, and how grateful they are that they’ve been able to get back home – nobody really wants to be in hospital, do they?
And finally, what do you like to do outside of work?
I’ve been on a bit of a keep fit spree over the last year or so. I went from being a lazy girl that never did any exercise, to doing couch to 5k.
I love cooking and baking. Every weekend I’m usually in the kitchen, concocting some cake or a curry.
We’re based in Leicester and I’m a proud Leicester City supporter! Having four sons means I always watch lots of football, I love it when I get down to a match – I love the atmosphere there.
Our in-house Clinical Monitoring Team is available to provide you with the flexible workforce you need – to support you, your way.
Interested to hear how Karen and her team could help you? Get in touch now at firstname.lastname@example.org.