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As part of new norm in coronavirus pandemic, virtual reality is the safest option connecting patients and relatives. With virtual visitations, healthcare professionals able provide shared expectations, positive anticipations and plan addressing potential issues regarding patient’s illness progress. In condition where patients are ill and unable to handle their own communication devices, help from the medical staffs are essential.
A 65 years-old gentleman with multiple comorbids was admitted to Emergency Department for Category 5 Covid 19. As per hospital policy, relatives are not allowed to visit patients during Covid -19 pandemic. In addition, patient was too ill to communicate independently with his relatives thus virtual visitation was an alternative. During the 20 minutes sessions, patient and relatives are brought up to date regarding their current condition. The session gave the patient the support and encouragement for both parties to cope with separation and promote patient’s recovery.
With virtual visitations intervention, it has perceived benefit in reducing patient psychological stress (78%), improving staff morale (68%) and reorientation of delirious patients (47%). Adequate preparations and technical support should be done to anticipate and manage to ensure videocall sessions operates impeccably. Benefit of virtual visitations is able to maintain a strong support bonding, diminished loneliness and separation anxiety between patient and relatives, besides enhance patient-centred care. Guideline has developed and circulated in the hospital for references. Guidance including patients and healthcare profesionals suitability, informed consent, protecting patient privacy, confidentiality and documentation process. Concerning barrier accounted are user familiarity with technology, lack of basic digital skills, overburdened of healthcare professionals, and lack of sufficient number of devices in emergency department.
Virtual world is the latest adaptation that all of us need to get use to. Patients, relatives and healthcare professionals are gratified with positive effect and therapeutic benefits from successful virtual visitations. A policy or guideline should be available and addressing concerning barrier for ongoing implementation of virtual visitations are essential in enhancing access and developing consistent approach both during and outside of pandemic.
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