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Another huge milestone for Southern Trust’s Virtual Visiting Service!

8th December 2021

It’s official. The Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s Virtual Visiting Service team are celebrating 10,000 virtual visits!

This new initiative to the Trust was rolled out to help patients and families stay connected despite restricted visiting arrangements due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The programme uses tablet devices to connect families at home to their loved ones in hospital and aims to bring some comfort for them at what is a difficult time.

Neal Morgan (Renal Consultant and Co Virtual Visiting Lead), said:

“Our team adapted quickly to respond to the challenges presented by COVID-19 and introduced virtual visiting in July  2020 as friends and family were not freely allowed to visit hospital patients in person.

“The service continues to grow rapidly. In the past 6 months we have doubled our virtual visits bringing the total now to over 10,000.”

Mairead Casey, Co Virtual Visiting Lead, said:

“Some of the virtual visits have included milestone moments, they have connected loved ones from across the globe, or have been to simply to catch up and maintain the connections and support that are vital to the patient journey.

“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 stay connected during these exceptional pandemic times.”

The Service originally began as a pilot scheme in Craigavon Area Hospital and has now been expanded and is operational in Daisy Hill Hospital, Lurgan Hospital, South Tyrone Hospital, moving now also in the Bluestone Unit. 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 which is currently been piloted within Daisy Hill Hospital.

Families and friends can book a virtual visit through our Virtual Visiting co-ordinator between 9am and 5pm on 077 7651 6419 each day. Our Virtual Visiting Officers go to each patient on ward to set up the call for the patient and ensure that they are connected with their virtual visitor.