The staff of the Community Mental health services for Older People in Ardee, Co Louth tell the story of how they adapted their service and embraced technology to deliver an excellent service to their patients using video calls. The team is seeing 60-70 patients every month using video consults. They say the biggest advantage has been the continuity of clinical activity throughout the COVID period so waiting times have not increased.
Patients attend using their phones and tablets and others with desktops and webcams. They offer a practice session if the patient needs it a few days ahead of the appointment time.
Their second service, the Memory Clinic, North Louth, had been suspended because in-depth neuropsychological testing proved to be very difficult to achieve at home. But they innovated and transformed one of their clinical rooms into a virtual hub, which allows a detailed neuropsychological assessment to proceed on a video platform without any problem. The one-to-one contact remains under five minutes for a ‘meet and greet’ by an administration staff member to explain the process of assessment.’
Increasing numbers of health service staff are using video calls for consultations with patients. Some 159,000 video-consultations took place between patients and HSE community health service staff between March 2020 and the end of February 2021.