July 2024

Virtual Ward helps first heart failure patient

Date of release: 10 July 2024

A patient has become the first person with heart failure in Wolverhampton to avoid hospital admission by being treated by the city’s Virtual Ward.

Martin Bate

Martin Bate

Martin Bate, 70, from Wednesfield, had had swollen legs and feet for many months and initially turned up at the Emergency Department at New Cross Hospital, part of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT).

But the father of one was able to be ‘seen’ by the Heart Failure Nurse Specialist Team in the Virtual Ward and monitored remotely on a daily basis thereafter, plus home visits and telephone calls by Virtual Ward Nurses.

Martin is monitored via a digital app called Luscii, which contains his data and sends alerts to staff if his condition changes.

His condition is also discussed by the Multi-Disciplinary Team, a group of Cardiologists, Pharmacists, Heart Failure Nurse Specialists and Virtual Ward staff.

“Martin said how fluid overloaded he was and we suggested he come into hospital,” said Faye Taylor, Heart Failure Specialist Nurse. “At that point we discussed the Virtual Ward and how people could be ‘stepped up’ but kept out of hospital.

“We did a referral and he was ‘visited’ that day by Virtual Ward Nurses.”

“The app will automatically alert us – for example if his water retention goes up, the Virtual Ward will respond to that,” said Caroline Dix, fellow Heart Failure Specialist Nurse.

Caroline Dix and Faye Taylor

Caroline Dix (left) and Faye Taylor

“This patient needs quite a bit of support so it’s quite intense and the idea is to give a short, sharp intervention to improve their clinical condition.

“It’s been a learning curve but this pathway offers us an alternative way of managing these patients.

“We wanted to see if Martin’s symptoms could be managed by increasing his oral medication and it is working.”

Martin has since been diagnosed with a heart condition which he was probably born with.

“I had trouble walking up and down stairs – my knees were so swollen that I couldn’t bend them,” said Martin.

“But things have improved and it’s better than it was a few weeks ago. I was put on tablets which seem to be working.”

Based in the Heart and Lung Centre at New Cross Hospital, the Heart Failure Nurse Specialist Team is now nine-strong has been going for many years in the community. It actively manages around 800 patients, but it has now developed a pathway on the Virtual Ward.

Its involvement in the Virtual Ward is a three-month pilot to support the early discharge of patients, and Martin was its first to avoid being admitted to hospital.

He added: “I’m very pleased with my care and treatment. The Virtual Ward is a very good idea because it prevents the trauma of going to hospital, and allows me to be cared for at home.”


  • For further information, please call Tim Nash on 07714 741097 or email