21/04/2020 | Press releases

Extra support to help patients stay connected

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is taking extra steps to help patients stay connected to their loved ones by putting together a series of practical tips to help reduce isolation when visiting is restricted.

Three leaflets giving advice for patients, visitors and staff have been circulated at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, as well as Felixstowe and Aldeburgh community hospitals and Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich.

They encourage patients to show staff a photo of someone close to them so that they can chat about them, share any worries or anxieties, and think about things they are looking forward to and times when they were at their happiest.

Visitors are asked to provide a photo to connect them to their loved one and to write letters to them. iPhones and iPads will be provided so that relatives can FaceTime or text patients if they are well enough, while they are advised to focus conversations on good times and looking forward to the future.

Finally, staff are being urged to talk to patients about their photo or what is important to them, regularly ask how they are feeling and encourage them to breathe slowly, relax their muscles and think about different times.

Rebecca Pulford, associate director of nursing at ESNEFT, came up with the idea. She said: “We understand just how difficult it can be to spend time in hospital without visitors, but are keen to do whatever we can to help make admissions easier for both our patients and their loved ones.

“We hope that these tools will help us support mental and emotional wellbeing and reduce isolation so that we can care for people’s heads as well as their bodies.

“Although these resources have been introduced to keep people connected during the pandemic, we will continue using them in the future as we strive to become a mentally healthy hospital which looks after the whole patient rather than just their physical illness.”

The leaflets are also available on ESNEFT’s website.

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