Patients at Southend Hospital have applauded their community physiotherapy team who have been keeping in contact using virtual video appointments with patients in the comfort and safety of their own home.
Patients who’ve been consulted by operation lead physiotherapist, Joseph Thomas, praise the flexibility and accessibility of the service, with no need to drive or pay for parking.
It makes outpatient appointments possible without the need to visit the hospital, where patients can see clinicians ‘virtually’ via a live online video link. In addition, the video calls offer a greater communication and understanding than a phone call, whilst taking less time and travel than a physical meeting.
The new patient initiative is a positive step towards improving patient access during unprecedented times, while having a huge impact on patient experience and freeing up clinicians to take on more virtual appointments.
Joseph said: “We started this service at the peak of the pandemic, to reduce the risk of contact between staff and patients. Patients were happy, as there was no need to come in and we could build rapport and have that crucial one to one contact with patients who live alone and had to shield.
“As one of the first members of staff to trial this, we can definitely see the advantages and benefits it’s had on patients’, especially the elderly community. We are now seeing almost double our previous clinic size because of this.”
One of Joseph’s patients who previously relied heavily on carers was in tears, as she didn’t think she could cope on her own without the extra support. Being home alone and with her children living in Australia, she was scared she wouldn’t survive if she caught Covid-19 with the continued use of her carers.
Joseph and his team monitored her closely and after a few sessions, she was able to sit and stand independently.
Joseph’s patient, Karleen Woodward of Leigh-on-Sea, said: “I was thrilled with the quick delivery of my walking frame and the video consultation is a great efficient and fast service. I’m now able to walk with some support, and the exercises Joseph has taught me have lessened the pain.”