Patients with Covid-19 who don’t need immediate hospital attention but are at high risk of developing serious symptoms are to be given pulse oximeters to use at home to reduce the risk of serious deterioration.
The Covid Oximetry at Home service (CO@H) has been set up in St Helens NHS England as a way of making sure patients who are more at risk of becoming seriously unwell with coronavirus are monitored at home and any deterioration picked up and treated quickly, given them a better chance of recovery from the virus.
Once a person tests positive for Covid-19, the test and trace service notifies their GP which enables them to refer people into the service who are eligible - this includes people aged over 50, people under 50 who are clinically extremely vulnerable, people under 50 who are deemed high risk due to either ethnicity, a high BMI or those with multiple medical problems.
These patients are given a pulse oximeter to test their pulse and how much oxygen is in their blood three times a day and record the results. This will show their GP if they are getting better or becoming more unwell – which means that they can intervene quickly if needed to get them any necessary treatment, rather than waiting and allowing further deterioration before calling for medical help.
Dr Greg Irving, local GP and Clinical Lead for the Covid Oximetry at Home service , has been involved in the roll out of the project in St Helens:
“We have good evidence that patients at risk of poorer outcomes from Covid 19 can benefit from having their reduced oxygen levels identified earlier in the course of the illness. This ability to recognise early decreases in blood oxygen levels before a patient becomes symptomatic is absolutely vital.
“With patients recording their readings from the pulse oximeter we can make sure we keep a close eye on these at risk patients and get them into hospital before their blood oxygen levels drop too much - giving them a far better chance of recovery as we now have proven treatments that can improve survival rates.
“Having Covid-19 can be scary and this service provides reassurance for at risk patients and their families that they are not alone and that doctors in the community are supporting them”.
Below is a short clip of how the service works.
For more information on the service or eligibility criteria, please ask your GP practice.