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COVID Oximetry @home monitoring service launched across Norfolk and Waveney

The NHS is expanding a monitoring service which is helping to support people at home who have been diagnosed with coronavirus and are most at risk of becoming seriously unwell.

Already available in many areas of the country, this service is now being expanded as part of how the NHS is supporting coronavirus patients during the second wave of the pandemic. 

We are pleased to announce the COVID Oximetry @home monitoring service is now live across NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

People who have been diagnosed with coronavirus, are symptomatic, and either extremely vulnerable to coronavirus or aged 65 or older, including people in care homes, will be provided with a pulse oximeter and supporting information so that they can self-monitor their oxygen levels at home for up to 14 days, with assistance from carers and/or family where appropriate.  

A pulse oximeter is a small medical device that is put on the tip of the finger, to check someone’s oxygen levels. Pulse oximeters measure blood oxygen levels by transmitting light through a finger – they are more accurate than smart watches or phones which make less accurate readings by reflecting light off the skin. By regularly monitoring oxygen levels with a pulse oximeter, it can be easier to spot if coronavirus symptoms are getting worse and identify if someone needs treatment or support.

Sadie Parker, Associate Director of Primary Care for NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “Following successful testing in various parts of the country, Norfolk and Waveney CCG has launched a COVID Oximetry@home model as part of the ongoing response to the pandemic. This service empowers patients to self-monitor, detect and act on early deterioration of COVID-19. The programme will save lives, reduce complications, length of stay and intensive care admissions in hospitals.”

Regular prompts or check-in calls, emails or texts will be offered to confirm that the patient is using the oximeter and recording the information correctly, usually via a paper diary or suitable app.

Clear guidance on what to do in case of any concerns (either via contacting the GP, 111 or attending A&E in case of emergency) will be provided, with 24/7 access to advice and support.

If, after 14 days of the onset of symptoms, patients show no signs of deterioration with coronavirus, they will be appropriately discharged from the service and given advice on returning the oximeter safely, and how to continue supporting themselves at home.   

NHS Volunteer Responders are on hand to support the service by delivering oximeters to people’s homes where needed.

Patients are encouraged to safely and promptly return oximeters so they can support the NHS, other patients and help minimise the environmental impact.

More information is available by visiting https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme. For more information about looking after yourself at home visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/.

ENDS

Notes to editors

COVID-19 vaccination programme

  • There are currently 27 sites vaccinating patients in eligible groups across Norfolk and Waveney (north Suffolk). There are 21 GP-led sites which are acting as ‘primary care hubs’; vaccinating patients registered with their own practice as well as patients from other neighbouring practices.
  • Vaccinations are also being delivered at three hospital hub sites, the Norfolk and Norwich, James Paget and Queen Elizabeth hospitals, large scale vaccination centres at Castle Quarter in Norwich and King’s Lynn Corn Exchange (which begins vaccinating today) and Hayden Chemist in Lowestoft. Two further large vaccination sites are due to go live this week in Attleborough and North Walsham.
  • More sites are planned to go live in the coming weeks which will deliver an increase in local vaccination provision – with no one in the Norfolk and Waveney (north Suffolk) area having to travel more than 10 miles to reach a vaccination site.
  • The NHS is well-used to delivering millions of vaccines a year and is moving quickly to offer everyone in the top priority groups their first dose by the middle of February if supplies allow – if you are in an eligible group and haven’t been contacted yet please don’t worry, we will contact you to offer you an appointment at a vaccination site, or if you are housebound, at your home.
  • More information can be found here: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme
  • It’s really important to attend the appointment you’re offered if you can, but anyone who may have difficulty attending a vaccination appointment should discuss that with their GP practice or hospital when they are contacted to arrange an appointment time. Support from various community transport services is available to people depending upon eligibility.
  • Vaccination is by appointment only once you have been invited, so please wait to be contacted.
  • Everyone should continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as possible and following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance if you have to go out.

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