24/7 message service launches to keep in touch with loved ones in hospital
With visiting restricted in hospitals across the country, Western Sussex Hospitals is supporting families to keep in touch with their loved ones while in hospital with a new personal messaging service.
The service is available 24/7 by email and telephone for people to leave messages for patients.
Chief Nurse, Maggie Davies, said: “It’s hard enough when someone you care about is in hospital, but when you can’t visit them it’s even harder. And while our ward staff give outstanding care, we know people are feeling isolated in our hospitals without regular visiting to look forward to.
“Our patients do better with personal contact from the people they love, so we are doing all we can to use technology to keep people in touch.”
The new system allows relatives and friends to send an email to a dedicated email address. Once an email has been received, the Trust’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team will print and laminate the messages (including photographs) and then pass them to ward teams to be delivered to patients.
The PALS team will also transcribe telephone messages and deliver those for friends or relatives who don’t have access to email. Messages will be delivered to patients every weekday.
People leaving messages should give the name of the patient, the name of the ward the patient is being cared for on and their own name and contact details.
In addition, the Trust has secured 42 iPads and a number of smartphones that have been put in wipe-clean protective cases and are available on the wards for voice and video calls between patients and their loved ones.
Maggie Davies added: “When someone you care about is in hospital, you want to be in touch. You want to be able to check how they are, tell them they are loved and reassure them that you are thinking of them and want them to get better as quickly as possible. Even though we can’t let a lot of people in to say that face to face, we want to make sure those messages can still get through.
“The visiting restrictions we have had to put in place are essential to keep patients and staff safe from infection, but we are determined to continue to find alternatives that support our patients and their loved ones.”
If you have a message you would like to send please email wshnt.MessagesToLovedOnes@nhs.net
Alternatively, call PALS to leave a message, which will be transcribed and printed. For Worthing PALS call 01903 285032. For St Richard’s PALS call 01243 831822. An answerphone is available 24/7.