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East London Foundation Trust: Maintaining Connectedness post COVID-19 Discharge with Flo

posted 12 Jun 2020, 00:59 by Hollie O'Connell




12 June 2020 


Community of practice members from East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) were some of the first to recognise Flo’s role in their local COVID-19 response and begin developing pathways to support patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ELFT Telehealth Team is aware that people may be overwhelmed with the amount of official information and updates, and confused by misinformation spread via word of mouth and social media.  However, it was of the utmost importance that members of the public adhere to and follow up-to-date official advice in order to reduce the likelihood of further transmission of the COVID-19 virus.  As a result a pathway was developed to provide reassurance to patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 who were well enough to be discharged home, and patients that were at the extremely high risk group in the community.

On a daily basis, patients are self-monitoring their symptoms including patients post-Covid discharge through integrated discharge hubs from the acute setting, with Flo providing approved guidance or support around how to continue to monitor their recovery at home.  If a patient meets a designated clinical threshold, Flo directs the patient to contact 111 as per official guidance.

In addition, the Telehealth Team at ELFT have integrated daily symptom checker questions into pathways for patients already being supported by Flo.  These patients are likely to already have pre-existing health conditions; the consequences of contracting the virus could therefore be more severe, thus increasing the importance of following current guidance.
Recognising the increased levels of anxiety around both their physical and psychological wellbeing during COVID-19 within these patient cohorts, Flo’s regular friendly prompts are reassuring patients, keeping them safe and helping them to feel cared for, connected during this difficult time and getting a holistic intervention in the community at the right time and thereby avoiding hospital admissions where appropriate.

One patient was particularly grateful for Flo’s help and provided some feedback explaining how Flo has helped them during this difficult time:

 The team are looking after me very well. But at this time when I feel more anxious with COVID-19, they have added some new questions to my Florence app. I can answer the questions and send my answers over very quickly, and they respond to me if I’m having any problems. This has made me feel a bit more at ease and not call my GP at this busy time.
Thank you to the Telehealth Team 

Raguraman Padmanabhan, Telehealth Clinical and Service Lead, commented on his experience implementing Flo during the COVID-19 outbreak:

 
Flo for COVID-19 has been a significant addition to the existing protocols and has helped reshape care pathways to facilitate care from hospital to home. Our service users informed us that it has been very reassuring and felt well connected with the team if they had any queries. We are looking into extending it to other specialist services in the community.