How video technology is helping hospice care continue during Covid-19

Categories: Care and Featured.

With Coronavirus restrictions still in place, Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care in Surrey has been using video technology to provide care to local patients who are living with a life-limiting condition.

ART, the charity’s Advice & Referral Team, talk to new patients and the healthcare professionals who have referred them, and have started to use video consultations to find out more about these patients’ needs. They assess symptoms and direct them to the appropriate service within the hospice; there are three key services: Living Well, which supports those who need help managing everyday life; Care at Home, for those being cared for at home; and the In-Patient Unit (IPU) which offers symptom management and end of life care.

Closely linked to ART are the charity’s Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs), who are often the first to contact a new patient. They can refer patients on to other services within Phyllis Tuckwell, such as nursing, therapies or counselling, and can offer support to patients’ families and carers, too. As an alternative to face-to-face contact, the CNS team are also using video to speak to patients, and are able to assess their needs efficiently and effectively via this technology.

With face-to-face group sessions suspended for the time being, patients cared for through the Living Well service are regularly contacted by phone or video to find out how they are coping and what help they need, providing much-appreciated support at a time when social contact is limited.

The charity’s Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Complementary Therapists are using video calls to speak to patients about symptoms or problems they may be experiencing. They can deliver equipment such as walking aids and adapted cutlery, aromatherapy oils and creams, leaving them on the doorstep and following up with a video call to explain to patients how to use them.

Counsellors, Social Workers and Benefits & Entitlements Officers at Phyllis Tuckwell are also supporting patients and families through video, and the In-Patent Unit is using a Facebook portal to enable patients to speak to their families. The portal is particularly helpful while visiting hours are restricted, and for patients whose families live abroad and so cannot visit.

“At a time when face-to-face contact is being limited, we are embracing other forms of communication, and are using video technology a great deal to stay connected with our patients and their families,” says Jayne Holland, Director of Patient Services. “They really appreciate not only speaking to someone, but seeing a familiar face too – and chatting via video helps us to assess their needs more comprehensively as well.”

For more information visit Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care