Virtual clinics prove success for Blackpool patients

Time is more precious than ever for people who are approaching the end of their lives.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 9:11 am
Members of the digital team with their award
Members of the digital team with their award

But now innovative technology is being used on the Fylde coast to revolutionise patient care and improve the way they use time and resources.

A pilot scheme has seen health workers from Blackpool hospitals and Trinity Hospice hold remote consultations via an iPad link rather than requiringeither clinicians or patients to have to travel to appointments.

The 12-month pilot focused on end-of-life care but in the future could be extended to other areas of the health service on the Fylde coast.

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Trinity Hospice community service manager Sarah Roberts, said: “Patients at the end of their life don’t want to wait all day for an appointment to talk about death and dying.

"They want to be making the most of the time they have with their loved ones."

A total of 360 patients were contacted using a weekly one hour virtual clinic at three pilot sites.

Only seven patients required a face-to face follow up which resulted in more than 867 clinical hours saved and cost savings of more than £21,000.

A presentation to members of the Blackpool Victoria Hospital board heard the scheme had enabled people to make better choices about their care.

Details from a case study showed how one elderly patient was able to ask questions directly and decided not to continue with chemotherapy because the side effects were making her feel ill.

Sarah said: "She made that choice herself and said she couldn't have done that while her family were there as she felt she had to take chemotherapy for them.

"She went home and had a better quality of life at home."

The programme, which was developed by Blackpool Teaching Hospitals’ Digital Health Team with Clifton Hospital and Trinity Hospice, has now been recognised nationally after winning a Nursing Times Technology and Data in Nursing Award.