Colleagues across Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust are helping to ensure patients at their hospitals can keep in touch with loved ones during the current suspension on visiting due to Covid-19.

A number of initiatives have been rolled out across the hospitals to ensure regular contact can be maintained, despite the current difficulties.

Communication hubs have been set up in community hospitals, to provide a dedicated telephone service between patients and their families, friends and carers. The hubs are staffed by nurses and they pass messages, poems and prayers between the patients, ward staff and relatives, and are proving vital in keeping relatives up to date.

The Trust has also been using iPads to connect patients with their families via video call. 10 iPads were kindly donated by Tewkesbury League of Friends, and 45 have been provided by the Trust.

We would also like to thank the local communities who have been busy knitting pairs of hearts, where one stays with the patient and one goes to the relatives, to act as a keepsake to comfort them in these difficult times.

Julie Goodenough, Service Director for Hospitals at the Trust says:

“The feedback we have been getting from patients and their families has been overwhelming, and really boosts the morale of staff. Being able to provide daily updates reduces anxiety for relatives, and the video calls are having a huge impact on the wellbeing of patients.

Julie Ellery, Matron at Tewkesbury Hospital says:

“For nurses, one of the most important parts of caring for a patient is being on the journey with them. A big part of that is talking to the relatives, having face-to-face conversations to pass on updates, and learning more about the patient to help improve their care. In a time when this isn’t possible, the communication hub has been vital in bridging the gap between patients and relatives. We’re really proud of all our staff who have taken on this new role.”

John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at the Trust says:

“We would like to thank all patients and visitors for their support and co-operation during this time. We appreciate these current measures will cause concern, but our focus is to maintain patient safety and prevent the spread of infection. We’re really pleased to have been able to introduce these initiatives to allow patients and relatives to stay connected.”

The Trust has produced a short film ‘Staying connected with loved ones’ highlighting the steps they are taking to ensure patients and relatives can regularly keep in touch.