How patients in hospital are still keeping in touch with loved ones

Hospitals in Somerset are putting in new ways for loved ones to stay in touch with patients during their stay in hospital. Due to coronavirus, hospitals across the county are currently closed for most visitors.

Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, which includes Musgrove Park Hospital and community hospitals and mental health units around Somerset, is offering several ways to get in contact.

Karen Holden, our associate director of patient centred care, said:

“We know that this is a very difficult time for our patients and their friends and relatives, particularly as we have had to restrict visiting to our hospitals and units.

“To help with this we have set up a patient messaging service where you can send us a text message or voicemail, which our patient experience team will pass on to your loved one through the clinical team looking after them – just call or text 07525 968409, Monday to Sunday, between 10am and 3pm (or leave a voicemail outside these times).

“We’d also encourage patients to bring in their own smartphone or tablet devices so they can video chat with their friends and relatives. A number of our wards are also equipped with a limited number of iPads to help if a patient does not have their own device.”

Yeovil Hospital is using wooden hearts to help maintain the bond between patients nearing the end of life and their families. Each heart can be customised with a message from a loved one to stay with the patient throughout their time in hospital.

The hospital is continuing to make visiting available to patients at the end of life, with appropriate support and guidance to ensure visitors and patients are kept safe.

Rob Lutyens, nurse consultant, palliative care and end of life at Yeovil Hospital, explains:

“As someone comes to the end of their life, the staff at Yeovil Hospital are very used to providing support for the whole family. This is certainly more challenging at the moment and we are unable to do this in the usual ways as family members are not always able to visit. This does remain hugely important to us and good communication is essential. The small gesture of the wooden hearts can go a long way to helping our patients and their families feel more connected and they have been really appreciated.”