Helping patients stay connected

Patients in local hospitals are being given a helping hand to stay in touch with their loved ones.

While visiting is restricted at hospitals in Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Goole, there is a team of staff helping patients stay connected to their family and friends.

Patient Experience team

Jo Loughborough, senior nurse for patient experience, said: “We know staying in hospital can be a worry, especially at this difficult time where family and friends are unable to visit.

“That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure our patients have regular contact with their loved ones. There are so many ways we can help with this, from sending handwritten cards, to helping them make a video call and passing on updates.”

Former patient, Michael Humphreys, was in Scunthorpe hospital fighting COVID-19 for nearly eight weeks.

Michael, 55 years-old from Scunthorpe, said: “While I was in hospital it was my birthday and the ward staff arranged a surprise video call from my wife Ann using one of their new tablets. It’s the first birthday I’ve spent without her in 21 years! Thanks to the ward I was able to see and speak to Ann as well as one of my granddaughters.

“The tablets were a god send and it meant the world to be able to see Ann – before that I had only been able to text and call her. They are such a good idea for people in hospital.”

Michael Humphreys

On his birthday, the staff on Ward 22 bought Michael a card and a cake to celebrate with him. Thankfully, he has now returned home to continue his recovery. He was also been able to video call other family members, helping him stay connected with them while visiting is restricted and social distancing is in place.

If you know someone who is staying in hospital, here are some of the ways you can stay connected with them:

• Send an email with family updates, photos or drawings to:
nlg-tr.PatientExperience@nhs.net which will be passed onto the patient

• If you are the nominated next of kin and you cannot get through or get an answer when you call the wards to enquire about your loved one, you can contact the Patient Contact Helpline on 03033 306666 between the hours of 9am and 5pm, seven days a week. Please note, we do ask you still try contacting the ward in the first instance. This number is manned by non-clinical volunteer staff who will take messages and deliver them to your relatives, or help you to locate your loved one. This team is not able to share clinical information, however, they are able to get messages to the clinical team looking after your relatives, advise you on other options for communication, such as video calling, and will be able to organise drop-offs and collections of belongings for patients. Alternatively, an email address – nlg-tr.twpatientcontacthelpline@nhs.net – will be manned throughout the same hours.

• Arrange for essential drop offs to be delivered to the patient, such as medication and clothes to go home in

• Request to be part of the Connecting Hearts project. Hundreds of paired knitted hearts haven been donated, one will be given to you and one will stay with the patient

• Call them on their bedside phone – confirm the phone number with the ward/unit

• Call the ward or email the Patient Experience team on nlg-tr.PatientExperience@nhs.net to arrange a video call.

Jo added: “We really hope these new ways of keeping connected will help our patients and their loved ones during this difficult time. We understand everyone needs different levels of communication and in different ways, so we will do everything we can to connect people. Please get in touch if you need any special arrangements.”

The team of staff helping to keep people in touch includes a team of ward buddies/patient liaison staff who, due to COVID-19, have been redeployed from their normal role to work alongside the Patient Experience team.

For more information on staying in touch, please contact our Patient Experience team by emailing nlg-tr.PatientExperience@nhs.net.

If you are a journalist and require further information contact the communications and marketing team on 03033 302528 or via nlg-tr.comms@nhs.net