During the current lockdown, and as Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Northamptonshire, the two hospitals are reminding local people about the different ways we can help people to stay in touch, this includes ‘virtual visiting’.
For the last seven months both hospitals have maintained strict no visiting arrangements across their wards with only a few carefully planned exceptions.
This is to make them as safe as they can be by reducing the numbers of people on the two sites to reduce the risk of Covid-19 being brought into hospital.
Both hospitals have responded to the ‘no visitors’ challenge by developing innovative ways to keep families in touch with one another safely during the pandemic.
Kettering General Hospital has the following initiatives:
- KGH NHS Virtual Visiting - a purpose-built application for KGH which enables 25 wards and departments (including A&E) to book calls between patients and their loved ones using 50 computer tablets. So far more than 900 patients and their families have benefitted from the virtual visits for an average call length of 50 minutes. The Trust is continuing to develop this programme with the aim of giving access to all patients who want to take part. The roll-out is underway but not yet complete.
- KGH Care Courier Service – A patient property drop off service so a relative or friend can bring essential items for their loved ones who are staying in hospital. More details on KGH's website
- KGH "Thinking of you service". A dedicated email address where loved ones can email a message, picture, or letter and it will be delivered to the patient. The address is email@example.com
At Northampton General Hospital work has included:
- Patient video calls - The volunteer team offer video calls Monday-Friday from 09.30-15.00. This involves a pre-booked call with loved ones to give family and friends a chance to connect and see loved ones. So far over 2,000 patients and their loved ones have benefitted from the calls. To book a call please phone 01604 544136.
- End of life care visiting passes - The specialist palliative care team have introduced visiting cards for those with loved ones or relatives. These cards will allow access to visit loved ones without the need to explain the situation to security. Wards will be allocated these cards to give out at their discretion.
- Letters to loved ones - Patient relatives can email a letter and photos to their relative who is in hospital. This can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include on the email the patients full name and which ward they are on.
- Letter dictation service - Relatives who don’t have access to email can call or text 07514978390 Monday-Friday 09.30-14.30. The volunteer team will be on hand to take dictation of the message and deliver the letter to the patient on the same day.
- Pictures for patients- Are you a buddy artist or have a youngster who wants to demonstrate their talents? NGH are asking for you to send your pictures to boost the morale of patients by giving them some artwork for their hospital bed space. You can send your pictures by email to: PicturesForPatients@ngh.nhs.uk
- Patient property drop off: The volunteer run service is available Monday-Friday 09.30-15.30 at the South Entrance information desk. More information is available here.
Both hospitals can in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care, arrange safe visiting. This should be done through the senior members of staff in the patient’s ward.