With visiting patients still not possible, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust has streamlined its process for telephone updates to help patients remain in touch with their family and carers.
Keeping in touch with loved ones during Covid
The national guidelines advise that we need to keep the number of footfall through the organisation as minimal as possible. This reduces the possibility of transmission of COVID between staff, patients, relatives and carers.
We recognise this is really hard for families at home. We realise that being apart from your loved ones is so hard when somebody has been admitted to hospital.
We are doing our very best to make that as easy as possible. We have processes like digital visiting which you can make an appointment to have an iPad brought to your loved one so you can have that face-to-face contact.
We support that and are increasing that process to wider areas in the organisation with an investment in technology to make that occur.
We also have the ability to make sure that you have an appointment for an update for your nearest and dearest while they are in hospital. We appreciate that not knowing what’s going on, can be really, really hard for people.
We appreciate that you have had relationships with people for a long, long time and all of a sudden being unable to continue that relationship is incredibly difficult.
But, our responsibility is safety. We need to make sure that the people that you care for, are cared for and we manage their risks
We do make sure that you can contact us through a telephone number which is 01642 624222.
Title card: Keep in touch with your loved ones on 01642 624222
To allow you to make an appointment for digital visiting and for an update, that will hopefully help to at least address some of your concerns. We also, for those people who are at end-of-life, or those who are what we call ‘John’s Campaign’ we do support some visiting. But this needs to be negotiated with your ward matron, your clinicians, to make sure that you are fully aware of the risks that are involved for you and those that you care for.
But we will support you in this very, very difficult time.
We have a great team at home, they are some of our clinical staff who are unable to work for a range of reasons, but have been amazing in their contribution to making sure that you can contact your loved one.
They are diligently working between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Sunday to make these appointments. To make sure that you have the contact that you need, with the people who you truly care for.
Title card: Plan your catch up with your loved one today. Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm, 01642 624222
On admission, all patients will be asked to set a password which they can share with a named loved one. This person can in turn call 01642 624 222 from 9am – 5pm and, using the unique password, arrange a time for a 15-minute update call.
The update call will take place between 12 – 4pm, once ward rounds have been completed.
To manage demand on ward staff time, the Trust asks the identified loved one/family member to in turn update other family members on the patient’s condition and plans for their treatment.
Contact on the ward
Where possible we also encourage families to contact their relatives directly on the ward via the patient’s own phone.
Using a unique password system to arrange for an update call maintains confidentiality while allowing patients to remain in contact with their loved ones. It’s a refinement of a system we’ve had in place since April and we hope to make it a little easier for everyone as we provide assurance on their loved one’s condition.
We are constantly reviewing our visiting policy but with cases of COVID-19 rising, we must ensure that we manage the risk to our patients and staff, acting responsibly to the changing situation. We all hope to welcome visitors back to the hospital in the near future.Julie Lane, Chief Nurse/Director of Patient Safety and Quality