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News & Media

Media Release

Date: 21 April 2020

Helping patients stay connected with their loved ones

Patients at the Royal United Hospitals Bath can still connect with their loved ones even with COVID-19 visiting restrictions in place thanks to the Trust introducing a mobile phone on every ward.

Since providing the service, many patients have been able to keep in touch with their relatives, including those who find it difficult to use technology, with staff on hand to help them.

Sharon Manhi, Lead for Patient and Carer Experience, RUH said:

"We recognise this is a difficult time for all our patients, their families and carers, and as visiting is currently restricted we want to do everything we can to keep our patients connected with their loved ones. Having these mobile phones not only provides relief to patients, they also provide great comfort to their loved ones.

"We have also set up a messaging service to help patients and families keep in touch. So far over 40 messages have been sent to us from families and we write them out on a lovely card which is delivered to the ward by our in-house postal service."

With the use of Whatsapp video messaging via the hospital's free Wi-Fi, staff are seeing the positive impact that video and phone calls are having on their patients.

Helen Slocombe, ward manager on Combe ward said: "The phones are of great value to our patients. Earlier in the week we've witnessed some very emotional and heart-warming conversations between patients and their loved ones."

The phones are also helping to provide comfort to families of loved ones who are nearing their end of life. Helen Meehan, Lead Nurse Palliative Care and End of Life said:

"We always try to support patients nearing end of life to be with their families, if this is their wish. However, as we are now living in these exceptional circumstances we are supporting visiting for patients nearing end of life where possible, but visiting arrangements may be limited.

"That's why having one of these mobile phones is so important, we can help patients and their families be together virtually so they can share precious time together. We know this time is hard for so many families and we are doing our best to support them. Every patient matters, every family matters and we are doing our best to support each and every one."

Families wishing to send a message to their loved one should email their message to or call 01225 826984. You will need to provide the patient's name, date of birth, location or ward if known, your details and your relationship to the patient.

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