Virtual Visits and telephone updates

If you have a loved one in hospital who is unable to use a phone, we can help you stay in touch with a Virtual Visit or arrange to receive a telephone update – just call 01642 624 222.

Telephone updates

We ask those patients who are able to provide us with a named contact within the family. To ensure we meet our obligations for maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of our patients, an agreed password is shared with this named relative.

More 95% of patients tell us they prefer to update their families themselves on their general wellbeing and the plans for their ongoing treatment.

This allows us to focus on those patients who are unable to provide updates themselves or feel too unwell to do so.

Virtual Visits

We use iPads that have been kindly donated to the Trust to help you see your loved one through our Virtual Visits system.

We have identified administration staff who will go to the ward at the time of the ‘visit,’ set up a call for the patient and ensure patient confidentiality is maintained.

Dropping off clothes and cards etc.

We have a simple process in place to drop off clothes, gifts, letters and cards for relatives of in-patients at the University Hospital of North Tees.

Anyone who wishes to drop personal belongings off for patients is asked to take them, in a sealed bag, to the Patient Experience Team Office, (behind the fish tank), ground floor, at the hospital.

All belongings/gifts must be handed over in a sealed bag which will be signed for.

The following items are not permitted:

  •  Money
  •  Drugs/medication of any kind
  •  Alcohol
  •  Cigarettes/lighters or vaping equipment

The Trust is reminding everyone that only one person should drop-off belongings and masks/face coverings must be worn at all times.

The Patient Experience Team office is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. If anyone wishes to drop off personal belongings outside these hours, please take belongings to the Security Office, to the right of Main Reception Desk in the hospital concourse.

Stephen Green, Associate Director of Risk & Governance, explains: “We know how hard it is for patients and their loved ones to be separated, but the need to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and its risk to our patients and staff left us no choice but to stop all visits in person.

“On some wards, the enhanced levels of Personal Protection Equipment make answering a ringing telephone more difficult than usual due to the time needed to remove the equipment safely. A regular update call as agreed by the patient themselves, using the patient password, is always advised rather than just calling for that important update.

“Virtual Visiting has been improved to use Microsoft Teams allowing families as an individual or as a group to see each other via an iPad.

“We also have a duty to also maintain the confidentiality of our patients and therefore Virtual Visits and telephone updates can only take place with the express permission of the patient, so we encourage families to have these discussions.

“We all hope the day we can open up our hospitals for visiting again comes sooner rather than later. Until then, our staff will be hard at work caring for our patients and maintaining the safest possible environment.”

The Trust continues to have processes in place to ensure patients at end-of-life, patients with dementia, (John’s Campaign) and patients with certain learning difficulties can have visits in hospital following discussion with the ward matron, recognising the risk to the visitor and patients in these situations.

To arrange a Virtual Visit, please call 01642 624 222.