Virtual Visiting Hours put patients closer to loved ones

A man and a woman sit in front of an iPad screen and a large computer monitor in an office.

In a region as large and as rugged as East Gippsland, distance can make a stint in hospital a lonely experience – especially during the festive season.

But Bairnsdale Regional Health Service has come up with a solution to connect patients with the people they love – Virtual Visiting Hours.  

Virtual Visiting Hours allows a BRHS patient on the Rotamah, Tambo and Flanagan wards or in the BRHS Emergency Department to chat with a friend or family member in a video call, with the patient using an iPad supplied by the hospital.

This service is available now through BRHS’ Telehealth services.

BRHS Chief Executive Officer Robyn Hayles said the system, developed following feedback and work with a patient’s family, is easy to use and keeps people connected. Developed by the Strategic Projects team, it’s a great service improvement – especially for those who aren’t used to online communications or who don’t have large amounts of data for their phones.

“Keeping patients connected to the people they care about is an important part of the care and recovery process. It ensures that they are happier and, hopefully, get healthier sooner,” she said.

“Virtual Visiting Hours means patients get the emotional support they need even when they are a long way from the people they love.

“It helps as care for patients in the right way, it minimises the risks patients may face from potential infections and it’s convenient. It can be booked at a time that suits virtual visitors and patients, including times when patients may be booked in for a doctor’s review or treatments.”

Robyn said the connection process is seamless, user-friendly and secure. BRHS staff will help patients to connect to the service.

“We’re excited about this innovation. East Gippsland is vast, and travel from some of our outlying towns to Bairnsdale for hospital visits can be difficult for some people,” she said.

“Virtual Visiting Hours also builds a bridge for when people are kept apart by an illness such as coronavirus. It’s a great development for us and for our community.”

For more details and instructions on how to connect, go to

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