Community Craigavon Health Newry

Milestone Marked for Virtual Visiting Service

Over 20,000 virtual visiting calls have been facilitated by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust Virtual Visiting service.

The service continues to play a vital role when it comes to enabling loved ones to stay connected and complements the return to inpatient visiting.

Mairead Casey, Virtual Visiting Co-Manager, said:

“This initiative was first introduced during the height of the pandemic and we are delighted that has proven to be essential to the patient journey.

“While in person visiting has increased over the past year, we do know that there are many reasons why this cannot take place for some families, perhaps due to family living overseas, illness, or due to infection prevention and control measures within the hospital.

“This is why we are continuing to provide our Virtual Visiting service on a daily basis to ensure that patients and families have the opportunity to stay connected despite the barriers that they may face. We are pleased that the service has continued to be a lifeline to so many families.

“Reaching this milestone of 20,000 calls would not have been possible without our committed team of Virtual Visiting schedulers, who book the calls and Virtual Visiting officers, who go to the wards to set up the calls. They have all been doing invaluable work. They have also received amazing support from our frontline colleagues across all four hospital sites where the service is operational.”

Grace Hamilton, Assistant Director of Nursing, Patient Safety, Quality and Experience, said:

“Each call has been an essential connection that might otherwise not have happened between a family and their loved one and this is down to our brilliant, dedicated staff who have ensured that families are able to stay in touch.

“To think that we have helped connect over half a million minutes of virtual calls is incredible. It is wonderful to read all the lovely comments about the service via the Care Opinion online user feedback system and we thank all those who have taken the time to support the service.”

The Service has also expanded to include a ‘Send a Message to a Loved One’ (which supports family and friends to share letters or messages with their loved ones, who are currently inpatients) and the ‘Spiritual Services’ which includes bookings to view religious services for those who require assistance.

Families and friends can continue to book a virtual visit through our Virtual Visiting co-ordinator between 10am and 2pm on 077 7651 6419 each day.


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