Virtual visiting during the pandemic proved a great success

iPads helped keep hospital patients connected when visitors were not allowediPads helped keep hospital patients connected when visitors were not allowed
iPads helped keep hospital patients connected when visitors were not allowed
The introduction of iPads into hospital wards to support virtual visiting during the pandemic has been hailed a success by patients, families, and staff across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

In March 2020 when visiting restrictions first emerged, the Clinical Governance Support Unit’s Person-Centred Health and Care team worked with colleagues across NHSGGC to source iPads and deliver them to all wards.

By the end of 2020, almost 650 iPads were in place across 314 hospital wards and departments keeping patients and the people who mattered to them in touch.

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An evaluation found person-centred virtual visiting enabled patients and their families to ‘feel closeness and connection, especially through a challenging time of separation’.

One family member said: “They were my family's lifeline. We would have been lost without the calls and I cannot express how much they meant to us and how grateful we were for them.”

Another family shared: “This was just amazing! I have not seen my uncle for for two years due to travel restrictions. He has been in hospital for over three months and his wife has only seen him briefly twice. My uncle was over the moon as was I … just brilliant!”

A staff member said: “It’s been quite emotional at times. Two of my patients were smiling for the first time in weeks! The impact of not being able to see a familiar face is so huge.”

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Setting up the virtual visiting service required a significant collaboration which included the nursing and clinical teams, Clinical Governance, eHealth, Infection Prevention and Control, Information Governance, Knowledge Services, Equality and Human Rights, the Public Health Team, and Endowments Management Committee.

While there were some teething problems as everyone got used to the technology, people quickly became familiar with it and welcomed the virtual video calls with the people who mattered to them.

Geraldine Jordan, director of Clinical and Care Governance at NHSGGC, said: “People told us how important and special these moments of reconnection were for them – even now, we hear about the memories people have of seeing people in hospital reunited with family members.​​​​​​​”

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