Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust is making it easier for its patients to hear the voice or see the face of a loved one in order to help them feel connected to life outside hospital during the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of IT innovations, including e-postcards and a large boost in mobile devices and tablets coming from donations, are allowing patients to stay connected with their loved ones during visiting restrictions.

All but absolutely essential visiting is currently banned at the trust in order to restrict the spread of Covid-19.

On patient, being treated on the Ash Ward at University Hospital Lewisham, said hearing the sound of her sons' voices "has been so important to me, as they can't visit and keep my company."

“When you are in hospital you feel that you are away from everyone who knows you well," the patient added.

"We were so delighted to be able to stay in touch."

Thanks to a number of IT teams, every inpatient ward at both Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Lewisham hospital now has a mobile device to use with patients.

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This is largely down to donations from staff at the hospitals and their friends, as well donations from local NHS partners.

Before being used with patients, the donated devices are disinfected, wiped of any data, PAT tested and have communication apps installed to allow video conversation between patients and relatives/other virtual visitors.

Kate Hudson, lead dementia nurse specialist at QEH (pictured) explains: “Being able to hear the voice or see the face of a loved one makes such a difference to our patients.

"The calls help patients feel more connected with life outside the hospital and are reassuring for relatives too, whose natural instinct is to want to be at the bedside."

The Trust is also encouraging relatives to send in e-postcards to be printed and delivered to patients.

These innovative initiatives are a wonderful example of colleagues working together to support the mental health of our patients and their relatives while they are apart at such a stressful time.