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Visitors go virtual for mental health service users

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Whether it’s been FaceTime with family or a Microsoft Teams meeting with managers, video calling technology has come to the forefront in the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s no different for our service users who have been embracing mobile meet ups with their loved ones as part of the Trust’s ‘Virtual Visitor’ scheme.

Virtual Visitor enables inpatients on the Trust’s mental health units to stay in touch with their friends, family and loved ones by using communications technology app Zoom on a tablet device. Through Zoom, service users can see and speak to their nearest and dearest while visiting on wards was restricted to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

The Trust has also introduced ‘Cards of kindness’, which helps friends and family of those in the Trust’s care to send messages to loved ones on wards. By simply filling in an online form, friends and family can send a personalised message which is printed out and delivered safely to the ward within a couple of days.

Trevor Jones, ward manager of Newhaven – a learning disability ward in Wakefield, said: “The service users who have used Virtual Visitor all speak very highly of it, and feedback from relatives is very good as well. The staff who have facilitated its use also say how simple it is to use and how positive it is for both service user and carer/relative. We have nothing but positive comments. We love it!”

The Trust is exploring continuing the use of Virtual Visitor as an alternative to physical visits.

Visitors go virtual for mental health service users

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