In 2020, our COVID-19 appeal raised over £5 million for rapid and long-term initiatives to help our hospitals through the pandemic, including providing hundreds of iPads. Distributed to wards across the Barts Health NHS hospitals, they have proved invaluable, from hospital chaplains delivering prayers to families being able to say final goodbyes.
Lourdes Anton from the Patient and Family Liaison Team says: “It really does make a positive impact to the patient’s experience in hospital during these difficult times and the gratitude you receive from all the patients’ families after facilitating video calls makes it so rewarding and worth all the time!”
“When visiting some of the Trauma patients on Ward 12D, I set up birthday video calls with patients, their children and grandchildren. It was lovely to watch patients elated to see their families and still being able to celebrate their birthday virtually.”
Her colleague Scarlett Gillespie adds: “I have had the opportunity to visit many patients, in hospital for various reasons and lengths of stay. Some patients have had long stays on the Intensive care unit and reconnecting them with their families after being apart, with no contact for over 5 weeks in some instances, was really special.”
“I’ve also helped make calls where patients are meeting new arrivals for the first time. One patient met their nephew for the visit time. They were so pleased to meet them and called me over for an introduction too! The calls provide lots of really special moments in these extraordinary times.”
In the Neonatal Critical Care Units at The Royal London and Whipps Cross Hospitals, donations have helped to connect parents with their newborns who are too poorly to go home.
With visits reduced to one parent per day, a new video diary platform means that the medical team can share regular multimedia updates with parents to show them the progress their baby is making and help siblings bond with their new addition.
Neonatal intensive care matron Tracy Cox says: “We know that parents find being separated from their baby one of the hardest aspects of the neonatal experience. This is an invaluable resource that helps parents feel connected to their baby, particularly at this time of restricted visiting and heightened anxiety.”
Baby Iyaz was born during the pandemic and the nurses used the platform to keep his family updated. His Mum said: “We absolutely love waking up to photo and video updates of our little boy. It makes being away from our baby that little bit more bearable. Currently, with visiting being limited, our children are able to keep up with their brother’s antics. Thank you so much.”
Thank you to everybody who has supported us over the last year and made projects like these possible.