Inhealthcare has partnered with Weldmar Hospicecare to launch a new digital health service for community nurses in the palliative care sector.
Weldmar Connect allows nurses to remotely monitor the wellbeing of patients living in the community and prioritise contact with those who need the most urgent care.
The service provides a lifeline for patients who cherish their independence and reduces travel time for the charity’s nurses in the rural county of Dorset.
Crucially, it minimises unnecessary face-to-face meetings during the coronavirus threat.
Bryn Sage, chief executive of Inhealthcare, said: “The introduction of the Weldmar Connect service could be a game-changer for community nursing in the palliative care sector.
“Our technology enables nurses to continue to provide care and comfort to patients in the community in this difficult period of self-isolation and social distancing.”
Patients use any web-enabled device to complete a short daily questionnaire about symptoms such as pain, nausea and anxiety, as well as information about their mobility and dependence on others.
Those without internet access can complete the questionnaire via a daily automated phone call.
When symptoms are rated as severe, additional questions and guidance will automatically appear for the patient.
The app includes useful information for patients such as emergency contact numbers and breathing exercises.
Community nurses see the results of each daily questionnaire and prioritise their caseload for the day according to the severity of reported symptoms.
The information also helps to identify trends in the condition of each patient.
Emma Randall, community nurse at Weldmar Hospicecare, said: “Weldmar Connect is not about replacing phone calls or visits but is empowering for patients and allows them a platform to record their symptoms.
“It has been incredibly useful during Covid-19 to keep that rapport with patients and helps them feel supported in these very challenging times.
“Visits have become less frequent and only happen when absolutely needed, so using the app helps them to feel like we are still very much a presence in their life, even if it is not in the physical sense.”
Caroline Hamblett, chief executive of Weldmar Hospicecare, said: “The work of our nursing teams to get this service launched is outstanding and we’re really proud of being able to lead the way in technology like this.
“We are already talking to other hospices in the UK about it and hope many other palliative care providers will look at this for their own community care.”