Delivering compassionate healthcare during a pandemic

Caregivers and patients are embracing and connecting with new technology thanks to the quick thinking teams across St John of God Health Care.

6 Oct 2020

telehealth ipad initiativeWhen the COVID-19 second wave hit Victoria in the middle of 2020 for many patients the physical isolation restricted their treatment options and ability to interact with loved ones outside the hospital 

What was needed were iPads to support telehealth and pastoral care initiatives but such was the desire for connectivity at the time the devices were sold out across Australasia. 

A team effort between the organisation’s Digital and Technology, Patient Experience and Clinical Excellence (PEaCE) and Supply teams sourced a limited supply which were quickly distributed to areas in need. 

The iPads have now become part of normal operations as teams across St John of God Geelong and Berwick Hospitals, Pinelodge Clinic and Accord services adjust to the new normal.   

St John of God Berwick Hospital Allied Health Manager Adri Pretorius said the iPad started as a way to connect people inside and outside the hospital and are evolving into much more. 

“We received residents from an aged care home who were distressed, disorientated, isolated from families and due to the circumstances had to be isolated from other residents and our caregivers, she said.  

“Connecting the patients with their families digitally has led to some really special moments and given most were between 80 and 90 years old they couldn’t believe their loved ones’ image and voice was coming out of a screen.” 

“We are now starting to conduct telehealth sessions for inpatients with doctors and clinicians and are soon to start using clinical apps available on the device to support a range of treatments such as cognition, pain management, speech therapy, occupational therapy, amputee management and vision.”

St John of God Geelong Hospital Allied Health Manager Toby Vague said that the technology has now been incorporated into the admissions process. 

“We were experiencing a delay from when we could commence treating some patients who had transferred from other facilities while they were swabbed and their results analysed, he said. 

“Using the iPads we could commence admitting them right away and develop a clear idea of their needs and how we could provide support.” 

Group Manager Patient Experience and Nursing Strategy Caroline Zani praised everyone involved in the project. 

“The iPad project is a clear example of what we can do with the support of a large national organisation with compassion, Caroline said. 

“Being able to quickly innovate and not compromise our care is central to our values and important to our front line caregivers and their patients.” 

The iPads have been distributed and continue to be used across the St John of God hospitals and community services.

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