Press release (reproduced with permission) from Royal Berkshire Hospital. Text starts below.
Royal Berkshire Hospital launches pioneering Covid-19 scheme
A pioneering scheme which allows some patients with suspected Covid-19 symptoms to be monitored and managed from home has been launched at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
It is believed to be one of the first places in the country to use this triage pathway following its successful trials in the Covid hotspots of northern Italy.
The system aims at freeing up demands on hospital staff, and beds and easing pressure on frontline clinicians.
Patients who arrive at the Emergency Department (ED) with breathing difficulties are given routine tests on their heart, blood pressure, oxygen levels and respiratory rates as usual.
Doctors then decide whether the patient needs to be admitted or is suitable to be sent home with a pulse oximeter which will monitor their oxygen levels.
For about five days, clinicians will be in daily phone contact with the patients as part of a robust system of keeping a check on their condition. If, at any time, they become concerned about a patient’s oxygen readings, they can be called back into the hospital for observation or treatment.
Dr Joseph Nunan, Ultrasound Fellow in the Acute Medical Unit said: “This Covid triage pathway, was shared with us by doctors from Brescia, Italy, working in what was then the second Covid hotspot in Europe.
“The collaboration, which has led to the Royal Berkshire Hospital adopting this Italian triage pathway, has shown the NHS and the RBH at their very best. We’re keen to share our experience with other hospitals, so we have built a website: TICC19.com”.