Pulse oximeter rollout to help people recover from COVID-19 at home

Many people are able to recover from COVID-19 at home. If you are at a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, you may be eligible for a free pulse oximeter to monitor your health and ensure you can get medical care if you need it.
A pulse oximeter on someone's finger with a stethoscope in the background

Pulse oximeters are small devices that can be clipped onto a person’s finger. They monitor blood oxygen levels, which are used as an indicator that someone with COVID-19 needs extra medical help or a hospital admission.

You may be eligible for a pulse oximeter if you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 7 days and:

  • are over 65 years old
  • are over 16 years old and have a health condition like COPD, asthma or diabetes
  • are pregnant
  • are significantly overweight
  • have an active malignancy (cancer)
  • have a learning disability

To find out if you’re eligible, you can fill out a short confidential survey here.

Once approved, you’ll receive a phone call and a pulse oximeter will be sent directly to your home or to a local pharmacy. You can then report your oxygen readings to local health and care teams twice a day, in the way that’s easiest for you. This could be by email or text message. Some people, including those with a learning disability, might prefer a phone call – which can all be arranged with the service.

People are offered regular prompts or check-ins as part of being on a ‘virtual ward’, to ensure they are confident in using the oximeter and that they know what to do if oxygen levels fall below normal levels.

It was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders when I was told he would be on the virtual ward. I didn’t have to worry about him being dragged off to hospital.
— Wendy & husband Martin, a NHS COVID-19 patient

This information is available in several different languages, which can be downloaded below.

Downloads

Pulse oximeter information in Arabic
Pulse oximeter information in Chinese
Pulse oximeter information in Polish
Pulse oximeter information in Romanian
Pulse oximeter information in Somali
Pulse oximeter information in Urdu

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