Virtual visits offer continuity of care at Portiuncula Hospital­­

The Paediatric Diabetes Service at Portiuncula University Hospital (PUH ) has changed the way it delivers outpatient appointments as a result of COVID-19 thanks to innovative ‘virtual clinics’ that provide access to the service instead of the traditional face-to-face appointment, at a time when social and physical distancing remains important.

Staff and patients of the Paediatrics Diabetes Service at PUH are using the ‘Attend Anywhere’ video platform and telephone calls to conduct virtual consultations and provide follow up support to family and children living with type 1 diabetes. This platform also allows for additional educational sessions with the child and family such as carbohydrate counting, travel advice and monitoring of blood glucose levels.

“The Paediatric Diabetes Service provides outpatient care to children and adolescents under the age of 18 living with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The ‘Attend Anywhere’ video platform has allowed continuity of care to our patients through virtual clinics that would usually be held face-to-face.

“We hold virtual appointments every week and try to be as flexible as possible to fit in with the families’ busy schedules. No special or high tech screen is needed as this service is accessible securely via a smart phone. There has been positive feedback from families who have used this service. It also allows us to discuss the data which patients have remotely uploaded from their devices such as insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and their blood glucose meters.

“We are also able to teach patients/families how to use continuous glucose monitoring systems so that they can start using these technologies. We can discuss carboyhdrate counting and setting up ratios allowing for better glycemic control. This has probably been the most valuable and beneficial change as previously these educational clinics would be held at the hospital.

“Our aim is to continue to deliver a quality and responsive diabetes service that optimises health and well-being for children, young people and their families during this difficult time,” Roisin Meleady, Paediatric Diabetes Nurse at PUH, explained.

“The deployment of this technology ensures patients can be seen in virtual clinics via video link, a key factor in reducing face-to-face appointments and in turn the possible spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“Video and telephone appointments allow us to provide quality care while keeping patients, their families and staff safe,” James Keane, General Manager, PUH, asserted.

 

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