'He broke down in tears,' RVH launches virtual pilot project connecting patients with families

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As the pandemic continues and visitor restrictions remain in place, the region's largest health centre is ramping up a new pilot project geared towards connecting patients with their families.

In a release, the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre says its implementing supported virtual visits through platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, or Skype through a bedside entertainment system or an iPad.

Executive vice president patient and family experience, Nancy Savage says so far it's already been a "heartwarming" experience.

"One patient's spouse was able to send him a virtual kiss as he was being wheeled in for a procedure," she says.

"Another patient was able to connect with their family in the United States, and another patient was so emotional after being able to speak to his daughter and spouse that he broke down in tears, leaving staff to describe the interaction as 'the most emotional moment in their career."

The hospital says the project began with two staff members with the plan to expand using "newly hired Externs, clinical students in various stages of their fields of learning," which will assist in several areas of the health centre.

Families or patients can book a virtual visit by contacting the inpatient units directly, and those visits will be facilitated with the help of an RVH staff member