‘Virtual visits’ pilot connecting loved ones

A “virtual visits” initiative helping patients and their families to keep in touch is being piloted at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The trial was rolled out during South Australia’s November COVID-19 lockdown to help families stay connected.

Over the festive period, it has also meant that patients still in hospital are able to connect and spend time with their loved ones.

For single father of three Ashley, being able to speak to his sons back home in the Lower Mid North was a welcome part of his recovery.

“The iPad program opens the door for me to see my sons while I’m in hospital.” Ashley said

“I’m vision impaired and on an iPad I can see them clearly and that’s great.”

Initially staff will work with patients on selected surgical and general medicine wards to connect with their family through the supplied iPads.

“This really builds on our value of being community minded,” Rebecca Badcock, Executive Director of Nursing & Patient Experience, said.

“The pilot aims to help reduce patient isolation and family distress during this time, recognising that not everyone in the community has ready access to technology.”

Feedback is being sought from both patients and staff with a view to rapidly expanding the initiative to across multiple wards and sites, and increasing the number of devices available.

The pilot aims to support patients who don’t have access to a mobile device for video calls, but are able to independently use the device to talk to family with some assistance.