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Covid-19 - Covid Oximetry @ Home and Covid Virtual Wards (CVW)

Why do we need this service?

A hallmark of COVID illness was the late and sometimes unsalvageable presentation of patients to hospitals, often with very low oxygen sats without accompanying severe symptoms of breathlessness. This was termed ‘silent hypoxia’, and this can only be picked up if oxygen saturation levels are checked. We can do this very easily through pulse oximeters that are readily available. Early assessment of patient oxygen levels ensures that deteriorating patients are detected early and admitted urgently for life saving treatments.

NHSE have published a SOP for COVID Oximetry @ home and this model should now be implemented by all CCGs across England.

Patients who meet the criteria for the COVID Oximetry @home pathway will be supported by a range of Registered Professionals and others to self-monitor their oxygen saturation levels, report symptoms and themselves act upon deterioration using either a recognised App or paper-based system.

There is also a very helpful video on YouTube, produced by the NHS, that explains for patients how pulse oximetry works.


The NHS Futures Platform  hosts a wealth of documents,resources and contact details to support the Covid Oximetry@Home programme, including NHS@Home.

Covid Virtual Wards (CVW)

This is separate but complementary to COVID Oximetry @home (CO@h). Key differences between these pathways are set out in the table below.

An SOP for this service sets out the details in full.

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Updated on Wednesday, 16 November 2022 1289 views