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Patients and staff benefit from new virtual ward rounds

Doctors at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust are using new technology to trial virtual ward rounds, reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 by minimising footfall on the hospital’s wards.

Patients continue to receive the same level of care and support, but doctors can speak to patients while they are in their hospital bed by using one of a number of iPads that have been donated to the hospital from the Dyson Foundation, via the Forever Friends Appeal – the hospital’s charity.

While a small clinical team needs to be on the wards in person during ward rounds, these new ways of working are proving successful in reducing disruption as well as the number of people on the ward at any one time.

Caroline, a patient being treated for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) on William Budd ward, said: “It was especially nice to see the doctors’ faces without face masks. I thought that there might be quality issues but actually the sound and picture quality on the iPads was better than I expected and there were no delays in speaking.

“I think the virtual ward rounds probably save the doctors some time, but at no point in any of my consultations have I felt rushed. I still liked having someone in the room with me in person though.

“Definitely the biggest plus is that you can see the consultant’s whole face like the good old days – it makes a real difference.”

RUH Medical Director Bernie Marden said: “Virtual ward rounds have proved extremely successful with both patients and our staff.

“Our doctors and consultants can speak to patients without being on the ward and so can safely remove their masks, and patients have told us how they have appreciated being able to see their consultant’s face, which they wouldn’t normally be able to do if we were in full PPE by their bedside.

“Other clinical staff are able to join the rounds virtually too, so there’s only a small team of staff needed on the ward to physically conduct the ward round and operate the iPads, which are regularly cleaned and sanitised. “Despite their being less people on the wards, our patients still get the same excellent level of care provided by our clinical teams, just more of it takes place virtually.

“Minimising footfall on our wards, is another way of reducing the risk of spreading infection, along with our other infection prevention and control measures.

“We have also been able to improve the service we provide to our patients, as the patient can now see their test results and x-rays on the screen and have it explained to them by the consultant, something which is easier to do than before.

“At the RUH we are committed to quality improvement and innovation and are always looking at ways we can become more digital, when it will benefit our patients. This is not to say we’ll be losing that vital, human contact, which we know is so valued by our patients.

“We’re extremely grateful to Dyson for their donation, which has also meant we can use the iPads to help keep patients in touch with their families while visiting is suspended at the hospital.”

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RUH granted planning permission for new Dyson Cancer Centre

We are delighted to hear that The Royal United Hospitals (RUH) Bath NHS Foundation Trust has been granted full planning permission for construction of the new Dyson Cancer Centre.

James Scott, RUH Chief Executive said: “On behalf of the community we serve, we’re delighted to reach this significant milestone. Our new world-class Centre will help transform the care we provide for patients, families and carers and provide a nurturing and therapeutic environment, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting health.

“It’s taken a huge amount of planning and preparation, working with staff and patients and our partners to get to this point.”

Scheduled to open for patients in 2023, the new Centre will be located next to the main entrance of the RUH and will bring the majority of the RUH’s cancer services, including research teams, under one roof.

Caroline Gilleece, RUH Matron and Cancer Lead Nurse said: “We are really excited by what the future holds. This will be more than just a building, it will be a therapeutic environment centred on patient care and experience, which will  also provide a fantastic place to work, so we can retain our dedicated staff and attract the very best to join us.”

Rhyannon Boyd, Head of Fundraising, The Forever Friends Appeal said: “We are delighted that the planning has been approved. It’s truly special in its design and facilities and we would like to take this opportunity to thank people for showing their support for our RUH Cancer Care Campaign.”

Cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support is investing £1.5million to create a new patient support centre called the Macmillan Wellbeing Hub which will be at the heart of the Dyson Cancer Centre.

Maggie Crowe, Macmillan Partnership Manager said: “I’m thrilled to hear we are now are one step closer to opening the doors of our new purpose-built Macmillan Wellbeing Hub. It will be a sanctuary for patients and their families inside the Dyson Cancer Centre. It will offer vital support as they go through treatment including counselling, a complementary therapy suite and overnight accommodation so that families can stay close to their loved ones.”

Work will start on site in 2020 to demolish the old Therapies block, clearing the way for construction to start on the new Dyson Cancer Centre in early 2021.  The Centre will mark the final phase of the RUH’s current Fit for the Future estates redevelopment plan, to transform the northern part of the hospital site.

In the last decade the RUH has invested heavily in its estate and infrastructure and delivered a range of new facilities, including the award winning Dyson Neonatal Care Unit, a new pharmacy at the heart of the hospital and the recent RNHRD and Brownsword Therapies Centre.

Further demolition and landscaping work to create a ‘green heart’, a purpose designed garden area for the hospital, will take place once the Dyson Cancer Centre is open.

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RUH Critical Care Unit celebrates charity donations

Staff in the RUH Critical Care Unit are celebrating generous charity donations that will help support its major refurbishment project and modernise and further improve patient care.

The hospital’s League of Friends charity has donated £150,000 to The Forever Friends Appeal to install new electronic equipment – called patient service columns – beside each patient’s bed.

The £150,000 target was set by The Forever Friends Appeal when it launched the Critical Care Special Appeal last year, and now it has been exceeded thanks to the League of Friends, local Rotary Clubs and individual donors.

Musician and BBC radio presenter Tom Robinson also raised more than £10,000 from a concert in memory of his band’s guitarist, Danny Kustow, who died in the Unit earlier this year.

The Critical Care team delivers lifesaving treatment to the most unwell and most vulnerable 2% of the RUH patient population. Around 850 patients are treated in the Unit every year, with 87% being discharged to an appropriate ward for continuing care.

A special celebration event was held at the RUH to thank supporters of the Unit, including patients and their families.

Stan Barker, Chair of the RUH League of Friends said: “We decided to donate the full £150,000 after seeing the incredible work the staff do in the unit and the real need for new equipment like the patient service columns.

“I would like to thank all of our staff, our volunteers and the public for helping to raise the money, which is mostly through our café and hospital shop, as well as from donations and legacies.”

Andy Georgiou, Critical Care Lead Consultant said: “Thank you to The Forever Friends Appeal, the League of Friends and all of the supporters for helping to raise the money needed for the refurbishment of our unit.

“This is going to revolutionise patient care here in the RUH through the installation of patient service columns. These columns will house a new clinical information system at the bedside and provide medical equipment, electrical power and gasses from a single convenient point. This means we will have improved access to the patient for emergency or special procedures right when we need it. Electronic data also means we’ll be able to offer much more nursing time to care for our patients.”

Tom Robinson said: “The care my friend Danny received at the RUH was exemplary over a number of years and particularly so in Critical Care in the last days of his life. Staff were so welcoming and personal. Huge thanks to everyone in Critical Care – you deserve all the support you get and more power to your elbow.”


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