Birmingham & Black Country

Coronavirus: Hospital iPads could be used 'to say goodbye'

Stock image of a doctor with an iPad Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Families appreciate the chance to be with their loved ones "even if it is just visually"

Hospital iPads to help families of coronavirus patients stay in touch with loved ones could potentially be used to say goodbye, a health trust says.

Thirty tablets have been distributed across five sites in Birmingham after the public was asked not to visit.

Families have welcomed the chance to see relatives over the devices, organisers say.

But the technology could also be used to allow people to make contact for a final time.

A spokesperson for Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said while the iPads could "theoretically" be used in such a way, the trust may consider making exceptions to visiting rules on a case-by-case basis.

Image copyright Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Image caption The trust has distributed 30 iPads across its sites

Marcia Perry, director of nursing and therapies at the trust which runs Moseley Hall and West Heath Hospitals, said relatives had appreciated real-time interaction through technology.

"It is still very early days, with the iPads in place now for three or four days," she said.

"One nurse was talking to me about the care of a patient over the weekend and how important it had been to her daughter that she was able to see her mum at this point in her life," she said.

"Also she was able to see the sorts of care that was being given and that staff were spending that time with her mum."

The trust said it preferred to have no visitors in its hospitals at this time, but appreciated it was "difficult" for families.

Ms Perry said: "Clearly we are used to working alongside families and patients all the time and we wouldn't want to stop family members from seeing their loved ones but it is important during this time that we maintain the restrictions that are in place."

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