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Covid-19 (Coronavirus)

Information and guidance for public, NHSGGC staff, and community-based services.  Hospital visiting restrictions now in place.

Person Centred Virtual Visiting

While there are restrictions on visiting in our hospitals due to Covid-19, we understand the isolation and loneliness that people can experience when they are separated from those who are most important to them.  This regrettably means many patients may have no access to family and friends throughout their stay in hospital.  They may also have no access to mobile phones or other devices that could enable them to stay in touch with their families and friends virtually.


To help people maintain contact with each other during these difficult times we are offering 'virtual visiting' (video call) for all patients.  This is a service the hospital is providing that will help patients to keep in touch with their relatives and friends by using technology that is available on devices most people have such as an Apple or Android mobile device as well as laptops and computers. 


All wards have iPads specially set up to enable 'virtual visits' (video call) allowing patients to see and talk to the people who matter to them using FaceTime, Skype or Zoom (please see self help guides below).


How do I arrange a 'virtual visit' (video call)?

If you would like to arrange a 'virtual visit' (video call) with a friend or family member in one of our hospitals please contact the ward directly or email the Virtual Visiting Team at: [email protected] and we will arrange with the ward for a call to be organised.


What information do I need to  provide for the video call to be set up? 

Please provide the following details:

  • the patient's full name
  • ward number or ward name and hospital site
  • which App you would prefer to use for the call - FaceTime, Skype or Zoom (please see self help guides below)
  • your contact details for the App you would like to use - this can be a phone number, email address or username 

You will need to ensure you have a webcam and microphone on your device that you can use - most devices already have this built in.


Is there an alternative to video messaging? 

Alternatively, if you would like to give a text or written message to a patient, please email the Virtual Visiting Team at: [email protected] or speak to the ward directly, and we can pass this on for you.  Please note that unfortunately we cannot pass on video messages from relatives to patients.


What happens if the patient does not have a mobile phone or tablet?

All our inpatient wards have a least one iPad for patients to take part in 'virtual visits' (video call) to contact relatives and friends during their stay in hospital.  Patients who do not have a mobile phone or tablet of their own are welcome to use a hospital iPad to see and talk to the people who matter to them.


Is it possible to drop off a mobile, iPad or tablet for my relative or friend to use?

Yes... while visiting restrictions are in place we are offering a 'Give and Go Service'.  This is a drop off service allowing friends and family to deliver belongings to patients, or collect their laundry while they are on our wards.  If dropping off devices, please remember to also pack the charger.  More information can be found on the NHSGGC website link here.


What if the patient needs help to make a 'virtual visit' (video call)?

For patients who are unfamiliar with using iPads to set up calls or who are unable to do this independently there is help and support available on all  wards.


What happens when a patient needs help to make a 'virtual visit' (video call)?

The iPads all have a range of communication tools or apps installed, specifically for patients who are deaf, hard of hearing or who speak a language other than English.


Can I request a 'virtual visit' (video call) for a specific time of day?

Where possible ward staff will try to arrange a time to suit you as well as the patient you want to contact.  However, due to activity on the ward there may be times when staff are busy and it is not possible to give a specific time for your call to take place.  We would advise you to keep your device nearby to receive the call just in case the time varies, we call you at short notice or arrange a more convenient time.


Is it possible to record the call?

For the majority of situations in our wards it will not be appropriate for you to record the call.  For example if there are other people present in shared ward accommodation this would be inappropriate without their consent.  If you are unsure, please speak to ward staff first for advice.


Can the hospital iPad or my own device be used to speak to a healthcare chaplain?

Healthcare chaplains are available to offer support and a listening service between 9am-10pm, 7 days per week.  If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, please ask a member of ward staff to contact switchboard and ask for the on-call chaplain.  This support is available for patients, relatives/carers and staff.

There may however be some occasions, when a healthcare chaplain cannot see you in person.  On these occasions, they will meet with you virtually through the 'Attend Anywhere' App on the hospital iPad or on your own device.


What if I am looking for information or a progress update on the care of my family member or friend? 

We are unable to provide information on individual patients as we are located in an administrative building not inside any hospital.  Please contact the ward directly.


Can the [email protected] be used to enquire about outpatient appointments, waiting list enquiries and 'Near Me' appointments?

If your enquiry is not related to 'virtual visiting' you should contact either the ward or department you are looking for.  A list of telephone numbers can be found for all wards and departments on the NHSGGC website link here.


Providing Feedback

Your feedback and experience of 'virtual visiting' is important to us as it helps us improve our service for patients, family and friends to stay in contact.  We would be grateful if you could complete our short survey to let us know of your experience using 'virtual visiting' as it is important to us to learn and improve the service.  Please complete the short survey here.  Please note we may use your feedback for publicity.  If you would prefer us not to do so, please advise us in the feedback form.


Additional Information

For Patients:

If you would like to make a 'virtual visit' (video call) to your family or friends, please ask to speak to the nurse in charge of the ward or the nurse looking after you to arrange this.  The ward staff will also be happy to help you to use your own phone or tablet or the hospital iPad if necessary.

If you need additional support or guidance, please email the Virtual Visiting Team at: [email protected] 


For Family Members:

The following documents provide help and guidance if you are not used to using these functions:

  1. Guide to using FaceTime 
  2. Guide to using Skype
  3. Guide to using Zoom

If you need additional support or guidance, please email the Virtual Visiting Team at: [email protected] 


For Staff:

The following documents provide help and guidance to ensure you are familiar with supporting patients and their relatives and friends to receive 'virtual visit' (video calls) and how to do this safely and efficiently at all times.

  1. Standard Operating Procedure for use of the 'virtual visiting' iPads.  Please check this regularly as Covid-19 Guidance is updated and new additions are added.
  2. Guide to using FaceTime
  3. Guide to set up an email account
  4. Guide to using Skype 
  5. Guide to using Skype, if people are using their own device
  6. Guide to using Zoom
  7. Guide to using Zoom, if people are using their own device
  8. Guide to using vCreate 
  9. Guide to using communication support tools, and a video for Interpreter Now
  10. Guide for virtual visits in critical care units 
  11. Summary of iPad Virtual Visiting Apps and Icons

If you need additional support or guidance on any of the above information,  please email the Virtual Visiting Team at: [email protected]  

Last Updated: 20 January 2021