Service users can now access mental health support from their armchair thanks to technology supporting NHS staff to hold appointments on line.
Earlier this year the Trust were one of 41 NHS trusts across the UK to sign up to an NHS pilot, trialling the use of video consultation software, Attend Anywhere. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this has now been made available Trustwide and over 5,000 video consultations have been held since 1 April.
Attend Anywhere offers secure video consultations for those living in the community, helping to reduce unnecessary travel and making it easier for people to stay at home. It is also supporting the trust to keep in regular contact with patients and is having a positive impact on the number of individuals clinicians are able to speak to.
Using Attend Anywhere
Appointments are arranged in the usual way with patients receiving a link to their online consultation via email or text. No special accounts, software or dial-ins are needed, only an internet enabled device such as a smart phone, tablet or laptop.
Upon clicking the link patients enter their own private online waiting room, where they are met by their clinician for an on-screen appointment. The clinician and patient can see and speak to each other as well as share and discuss documents like test results, letters and case notes.
It’s also a great way for family members and carers to be involved with discussions about a person’s care and treatment, as up to four people can take part from different devices.
Appointments are confidential. Conversations are not recorded and will not leave a digital foot print.
More information is available in this short film:
What our staff say…
Dr Tolulope Olusoga, consultant psychiatrist in older people’s services at TEWV and currently using the platform said: “Attend anywhere offers a better quality of assessment than telephone conversations. A lot of communication is non-verbal and the use of video technology enables clinicians to pick up on signals that may otherwise be missed. It also helps us to assess a person’s general wellbeing and look out for signs that they may not be taking care of themselves.
“Being able to see each other also helps to build therapeutic relationships which are essential in supporting someone on their recovery journey.
“I recently held a consultation with a lady who is over 100 years old and a resident in a care home. The assessment was able to be done quickly and, being in her own environment, helped to reduce her anxiety. Together, we were able to agree a plan of action with respect to treatment and I was able to issue a prescription which was sent out in the post same day. It was more convenient for all concerned, cost effective and supported government measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.”
You can hear from some of our clinicians in this short film…
Benefits of Attend Anywhere
Nichola Watkins, clinical locality engagement manager and leading on the work, added: “We’re pleased to have been able to fast track this work so more people have benefitted from the support of our clinicians during this difficult time. Offering on-line appointments has helped us to stay connected with vulnerable patients in the community, making sure their care is not negatively impacted as a result of measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
“It has also increased accessibility to services for people who struggle with meeting staff in person or with attending settings for appointments. Of 447 patients surveyed, over 94% said they would be happy to use Attend Anywhere again.
“We have also noticed a positive impact on managing case-loads and a reduction in staff travel which helps us to reduce our carbon footprint.
“We hope to continue and expand this service further in the future to support the delivery of mental health services which meet the needs of local people.”