latest health care news

12.06.20

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS FT connecting intensive care patients

With face-to-face communication and hospital visits severely limited in light of the current coronavirus outbreak, trusts around the country have been forced to look for innovative new ways to allow loved ones to keep in contact.

Particularly for those requiring treatment in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as a result of the disease, being unable to be with their loved ones has made an already harrowing experience more difficult. At Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, digital technology has stepped in to help bridge that disconnect.

Giving relatives and carers of ICU patients digital access to a patient diary system, it has allowed intensive care staff to update families on how their loved ones are doing. With entries able to accessed by families from home, and capable of including pictures and videos, it has served to provide timely information and an often much-needed reassurance for loved ones despite the visiting restrictions.

Equally, staff have benefited from the system as it reduces the pressure to constantly update families and instead allow them to focus on working through already challenging circumstances.

READ MORE: NHS technology sees 38% surge in usage during coronavirus outbreak

Clinical Lead for Digital Innovation and Transformation, Morgan Thanigasalam said: “The teamwork has been remarkable. Turning this new concept into reality in just three weeks has been amazing, many thanks to all that have helped.

“The willingness of colleagues to bend over backwards, come from other areas to support and consistently go the extra mile has been truly humbling. In what is a worrying and stressful time for relatives and carers, we have already had very positive feedback and thanks.”

While patient diaries are not a new concept within the ICU but up until now, they were not digitised and couldn’t be accessed online by families remotely. These diaries will typically include who has looked after the patient, how they’ve been, who has called and any events which might be personal to the patient – such as the weather or football team results. The purpose for the diary is to fill in the gaps for the patient whilst sedated, which can often be challenging to come to terms with, particularly after a prolonged period.

Each day, the diary is photographed and attached to the patient record on the platform. Next of kin are temporarily allowed secure access to this information so they can stay connected and view the record at a time that suits them.

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