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Helping patients to communicate with their loved ones virtually

A member of staff at UHMBT holding up one of the new iPads

Fifteen iPads will be used on wards at Furness General Hospital (FGH), Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and Westmorland General Hospital to help patients to communicate with their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jitsi a video conferencing app has been installed on the devices which will allow patients at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) to do a video conferencing call with their loved ones where they will be able to see each other. Staff and patients will follow infection prevention guidance when using the iPads.

Staff will also use the iPads to give families the opportunity to see and speak to patients who are very unwell and may be nearing the end of their lives.

On top of the 15 iPads funded by the Trust, Simpson Millar Solicitors has also donated several iPads to FGH and the RLI. The national award-winning law firm is raising money through its #staytogether campaign to buy the devices for hospitals across the country.

Hayley Reading, Matron for Acute Medicine at the RLI, UHMBT, said: “It’s really important for our patients’ wellbeing to be able to communicate with their families while they are in hospital, especially those who are elderly or who have been hospital a long time.”

Sarah Price, Consultant in Palliative Care Medicine, said: “We know how difficult it can be for patients and their loved ones not to be able to see each other, and we know that when people are really unwell and may be nearing the end of their lives, any limitations to visiting can be really hard. We hope that access to this technology will help with this in a small way and I’m hugely grateful to everyone who formed part of the team that made this happen. We know the iPads have made a huge difference to the people that have used them so far.”

Sue Smith, OBE, Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “Due to restrictions on visiting during COVID-19 it’s even more important to give our patients a safe way of communicating with their families where they can still see each other.

“I want to thank Simpson Millar Solicitors for their kind donation and our clinical teams and I3 colleagues who have put the iPads in place so quickly and come up with this innovative way of allowing our patients to communicate with their loved ones.”

You can donate to the #staytogether campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/staytogether.

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