Below is a letter setting out a potential protocol for virtual ward rounds. This can be adapted and used by practices if they wish.
As you are aware with the recent outbreak of COVID-19, we are all trying to reduce our contact with the most vulnerable.
We propose a change in our arrangements of the weekly ward round which I have detailed below.
As usual, please inform us of the patients you need assistance with on the morning of your round day. The GP will then arrange a time to speak with a senior team leader and discuss each patient. We envisage that most problems can be successfully dealt with over the telephone.
Where a visit is deemed necessary, the following standard operating procedures should apply:
1. A set time for visiting is agreed and the senior member of staff available at that time.
2. The resident is ready in his or her own room. Gloves should be available for use on entry into the room. Residents will not be reviewed in communal areas or staff room.
Video consultations would greatly enhance the protection of residents and our healthcare staff. We are keen to get this established as soon as possible.
We have taken advice from our Data Protection Officer and we shall be forwarding a protocol for mutual agreement very soon.
The essentials are that we can use FaceTime but not WhatsApp for these calls.
Any member of staff’s iPhone or iPad can be used as long as the recording function is ‘off’ and no other resident or family member is visible in shot.
Each resident or their representative will be given the right to object to using video consultations.
During this pandemic the use of video consultation is deemed the only viable option for the continued healthcare of the patient whilst also limited contact with at risk patients and so consent will not be sought- patients will be provided with an opportunity to object, however.
We look forward to working with you to ensure the protection of our most vulnerable patients and our clinical staff
SOP For Video Consultations
1. Patients must be given the right to object before using video consultation. This can be completed verbally but then recorded in the patients notes.
“[patient name], Dr x from XXX Surgery would like to speak with you to discuss x. I am going to call them so that they can speak with you via video. The consultation will not be recorded but will give Dr x the ability to see you whilst talking [if wish to show Dr a contusion etc also add that “and I can show them the bruise on your]. Do you have any objections?”
2. The patient or their representative has a right to refuse.
3. It is clearly explained to the patient that the consultation is not recorded .
4. No other family members or patients should be visible in the video unless they wish to speak to the clinician.
5. It is clearly explained to the patient that the consultation is using video to access clinical advice remotely and the name and position of the clinician should be made clear.
6. Personal iPhones/iPads can be used and [insert preferred software] is the software that is preferred.
7. The ‘recording’ function on both devices used is switched off.