Seeing family and friends virtually is helping patients in Glasgow hospitals

Lara Mitchell says patients' faces light up when they see their family and friends.Lara Mitchell says patients' faces light up when they see their family and friends.
Lara Mitchell says patients' faces light up when they see their family and friends.
Uniting patients with family members or friends is bringing a smile to many faces in Glasgow and Clyde during these challenging times.

With visiting suspended for the vast majority of patients, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde is re-uniting families through ‘person centred virtual visiting’ and is supplying wards across Greater Glasgow and Clyde with iPads, complete with FaceTime, Skype and Zoom.

Families are able to see their loved ones in hospital and chat to them and this is benefitting patients on their road to recovery whether from, COVID-19 or other ailments.

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Lara Mitchell, Consultant – Medicine for the Elderly, said: “The development of patient centred virtual visiting has been an immeasurable benefit for patients, families and staff.

“Visiting relatives played a pivotal role in our ward life before lockdown. For frail older adults the contact was crucial for them and the move to essential visiting meant we had to adapt and consider how to deliver that care and compassion. EHealth provided an ipad to each of our wards and so our adaptation began.

“We now schedule appointments for patients’ time on the iPads with their family members and the impact is palpable. Seeing patients faces light up with smiles and laughter of happiness is really very special. It is emotional for both patients and staff but incredibly rewarding.”

Margaret McGuire, Nursing Director for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, added: “In the light of Covid-19 we have had to restrict visiting to the absolute bare minimum, such as patients who are at the end of their lives.

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“For so many of our patients, who look forward to visitors, this is a particularly lonely time.

“Our person centred virtual visiting approach has been growing across our hospitals and is enabling those really important real time conversations to happen between patients and the people that matter most to them in their lives.

“Every ward has access to at least one ipad so every patient will have access to virtual visiting and we know from our staff what a difference this is making to the wellbeing of patients in all our hospitals.

“In one case a husband and wife were both in the same hospital and the staff were able to bring them together for the husband’s birthday with a cake and access to their family on the ipad. The delight on the patients’ faces was wonderful and I want to thank the staff for making this happen.”

For more information on the service, contact [email protected]

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