Televisitation: linking patients with family and friends

THE need to find more innovative ways to link patients with family and friends has long been known.

Isolation from community supports, family and friends is an added burden for patients coping with illness. There is an important relationship between the psychosocial needs of families and patients and health outcomes.

A sense of connectedness can reduce some of the negative consequences associated with loneliness and isolation.

At the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, Canada, a new telemedicine program is bringing the needs of patients, health care partners and families closer together.

The program uses secure videoconferencing technology to reduce the impacts of geographic and other barriers between patients and their families.

Televisitation is the virtual transportation of a patient’s family and friends to the bedside within an acute care setting. It is an especially enabling program in remote or disparate communities.

The technology utilises videoconferencing systems and secure network plug-in access feeds to provide for connectivity to every inpatient unit.

Additional laptops and bedside Wi-Fi connections are available for less intrusive, individual patient use. Multisite, simultaneous connection possibilities also exist for specific cases.

At the centre of the Thunder Bay program is a model of Patient- and Family-Centred Care (PFCC) which is respectful of and responsive to the preferences, needs and values of individual patients and families. These are the values which guide all clinical decisions.


Source: Nicholas, B. Perm J. 2013 Winter; 17(1): 50–52. Copyright © 2013 The Permanente Journal.

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