Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS FT (CWH) and its charity CW+ have launched an acute Covid app, to support NHS staff redeployed to care for Covid-19 patients.
The app is designed to increase confidence in staff and provide an easily-accessible information resource. It was originally created as a learning tool for staff at the trust’s two hospitals – Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and West Middlesex University Hospital. But it has now become widely available for download in the UK on iOS and Android devices.
Some of the features include a step-by-step guide for doctors and nurses, including defining stages of Covid-19, providing staff with vital information on triage at A&E, hospital admission, in-hospital treatments, and advanced care management. Training on non-invasive ventilation for staff is also included, which was successfully initiated at the trust during the first wave of the pandemic.
Due to the high volume of patients needing treatment, non-invasive ventilation interventions such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) were being delivered by staff who would not routinely use these techniques, as a result of the training.
It is thought that when this method is appropriately implemented, bed days may be reduced, which can prevent the need for invasive mechanical ventilation.
Dr Ryan Dhunnookchand, Respiratory Registrar & Medical Education Fellow, at CWH, said: “During the first wave of Covid-19 in early 2020, we quickly realised that there were not enough staff with the specialist skills required to care for Covid-19 patients, and we had to rapidly train and redeploy many staff members across our hospitals.
“The goal was to develop a smartphone application that increased staff confidence in caring for Covid-19 patients, including setting up CPAP circuits, and provided an aid to troubleshooting problems that might arise, particularly when skilled staff may not be readily available to assist and thereby to improve patient safety.
“Working with [an app developer], and supported by a generous grant from Pfizer, we are pleased to be able to make this innovative and educational resource freely available to help all NHS trusts and healthcare providers.”
Niamh Woolven, Respiratory Nurse Specialist at CWH, said: “The acute Covid app was designed by staff for staff. The information on caring for patients with CPAP, and definitions of Covid, have been instrumental for nurses who have been redeployed during the pandemic. It’s great to see our work become available via the app for nurses across the country who are looking to learn about non-invasive ventilation.”
The app also signposts staff to mental and physical wellbeing support, providing the tools to help staff look after themselves and their colleagues.
It forms part of the CW Innovation programme - a joint initiative between CWH and its charity CW+ - which identifies, tests and scales high-impact innovations that improve patient care, patient experience, and the running of their hospitals.