Virtual technology brings real smiles to local hospital patients
Connected – Jennifer Smith and her 92-year-old mother, Margaret.
By Democrat reporter
Uniting a 92 year-old patient with her family has brought a smile to many faces in Glasgow, London and even Paris this week.
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 with 100 ipads, complete with FaceTime, Skype and Zoom.
One family to benefit already from virtual visiting is Jennifer Smith and her 92-year-old mum Margaret Smith.
Jennifer lives in London, and since her mum was admitted to Glasgow Royal Infirmary just before Christmas she has flown up weekly to be with her. Once visiting was restricted this was no longer possible, so staff on the ward arranged for them to ‘meet’ via FaceTime.
Jennifer said: “The staff on mum’s ward have been amazing; I can’t speak highly enough about them.
“Not only do they look after her medically, they do so much more on top. They know I am down south and have gone out of their way to make sure we can stay in touch. Just brilliant.”
Jennifer’s 21-year-old daughter Rachel is self-isolating in Paris, and has also joined in the calls.
“Rachel is the apple of mum’s eye so for the three of us to see each other and speak had been incredible. Mum’s been hilarious and being in hospital has not stopped her being pass-remarkable. She asked me on the last call why I didn’t have mascara on!
“This has been such a boost for my family and I will always be grateful to the amazing GRI staff.”
Chief Nurse, Jennifer Rodgers is the Board’s professional lead for Person-Centred Care. She said: “Person-centred care is always important, but never more so than now. We need to be asking our patients, our families and each other – what matters to you?
“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. For so many of our patients who are used to and enjoy seeing friends and family, this is a particularly lonely time.
“Our person centred Virtual visiting approach has been growing across our hospitals over the last few weeks and is enabling those really important real time conversations to happen between patients and the people that matter most to them in their lives. Now the Board has taken this a step further and are providing 100 ipads, so every one of our inpatient wards will have access to virtual visiting.
“I was so pleased to hear about Margaret, Jennifer and Rachel being able to stay in touch. I am confident that this small step will bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces in the coming weeks and months.”