‘Virtual visiting service’ helping to keep patients in touch with their loved ones | Latest news

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‘Virtual visiting service’ helping to keep patients in touch with their loved ones

staff posing with Ipads

UHDB has introduced a brand new service to help patients stay in contact with their families from their hospital ward while current visiting restrictions are in place because of COVID-19.

The Trust can now arrange for patients to receive a ‘virtual visit’ via video call from their loved ones, or have a written message passed on, to improve their wellbeing and make them feel less isolated.

Around 90 brand new iPads have been delivered across our five hospitals – starting with the COVID-19 and critical care areas at Royal Derby Hospital and Queen’s Hospital Burton – so that patients can receive video calls from their families.  

UHDB’s Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS) team will be coordinating requests for the virtual visits, as well as the separate messaging service, where members of the public can send a note of support to their loved one.

PALS colleagues will only be able to pass on messages from families to patients on the ward one-way and not vice-versa, with the new service ensuring that families can send our patients love and support while they’re in hospital, so as to improve their wellbeing and overall hospital experience. 

Krishna Kallianpur, Interim Executive Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Experience, said: “Spending time in hospital can be an anxious experience for any patient and this is even more so during what is an extremely challenging period for everyone.

“We understand that restricting visitors is distressing for patients and their families, so we wanted to find a way to help them to maintain this vital contact, now more than ever. Communication is key to reducing anxiety and helping our patients to feel less isolated, so we are delighted to now have this new service available to allow patients to receive messages of support and not miss out on seeing their loved one’s faces.”

Messages will be delivered to hospital wards by the PALS team once a day, with the service only initially available during the team’s usual opening hours in the week, although, depending on the number of contacts received, there may be a possibility of extending this into the weekend and early evenings.

Around 90 iPads have now been distributed across every ward in each of the Trust’s five hospitals. 

If you would like to send a written message of support, please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) >

If you would like to make an urgent request for a video call with a loved one and it is outside of the normal working hours of our PALS teams, please call the ward directly.

Contact a ward to make a video call >

In line with other NHS trusts, UHDB has temporarily changed visiting restrictions to help respond to COVID-19, with visiting now strictly restricted to essential visitors only.

View our visiting restrictions and information for visitors >