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Keeping patients in touch with loved ones

A successful initiative to provide iPads for inpatients while visiting restrictions remain in place has been boosted by harnessing the communication expertise of speech and language therapists (SLTs).

Clinical teams have been supported by members of the patient experience team to ensure that patients have access to ‘e-visitors’, tuning in via the small screen to chat to a friend or relative and wish well while in Moseley Hall Hospital.

As part of the process to prioritise service continuity in critical service areas, SLTs who normally offer therapeutic support to children and families in child development centres and other community settings are among around 1,000 BCHC colleagues to have been redeployed, in many cases to hospital inpatient areas.

Interim children’s SLT operational manager Raman Kaur said: “The SLTs who normally work with the adult inpatients at Moseley Hall were allocated a children’s SLT as part of the redeployment process to the wards.

children on iPads

“They identified that the children’s SLTs could make a profound impact by empowering patients on the wards to communicate with their family and friends by video calls on an iPad.

“The SLTs use their specialist skills to make the iPads accessible to the patients then facilitate the communicative interactions which took place between patients and their families through a video call.

“The outcomes are that the patients have been able to emotionally connect with people that they had not seen for several weeks. Positive feedback has been received from the patients, their families and the redeployed staff.”

Due to the success of this therapeutic input, more SLT staff from the children’s and CDC team has been redeployed so that the support can be offered to patients in every ward at Moseley Hall.

In a further demonstration of BCHC’s commitment to using technology to improve communication between patients, families and service users, the children’s SLT service has been selected as the ‘test bed’ to pilot online videolink clinical consultations. The ‘Attend Anywhere’ platform is being adopted by several NHS providers.