Virtual visitation – close-to-home hospital stay and the comfort of loved ones far away
Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa was designed to bring close-to-home hospital care to west Wichita and the surrounding communities.
Now the high-tech, high-touch hospital has gone one step further in bringing patient- and family-centered care to the neighborhood with a newly launched service - virtual visitation.
Using one of the hospital's four portable web-cam-equipped computers, this service makes it possible for patients to have a "face-to-face" visit with loved ones who can't make to the hospital because of distance or illness.
"Often, family want to visit, but are sick themselves and really should stay home," said Megan Britt, clinical nurse manager for the Medical/Surgical units at Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa, who was on the team that helped design the pilot program. "This program lets them be with their loved one without having to worry about spreading or catching germs.
"It also allows parents to introduce their new baby to family who couldn't make it to the hospital for the birth," Britt added.
Accessing the service is simple. Patients simply let their nurse know that they'd like to schedule a visit and their nurse then arranges for one of the portable units to be brought to the patient room at the appointed time.
The only requirement is that the family member on the other end have a computer equipped with a Web cam.
The same equipment is being used to allow staff to video conference for meetings at other Via Christi Health facilities, saving travel time and expense.