Bleeding Matters live! Virtual consultations – making the most of new reality

Written by Aaron Dennis, November 19, 2020

At our recent webinar we heard from Gary Benson, centre director and Helen Hanson, haemophilia nurse from Belfast haemophilia centre.

Gary talked about their experience of moving to virtual consultations and gave an overview of how the team adapted both internally and externally to give patients the time and attention required at each clinic.

Gary said: “The team have received overriding positive responses from patients and this better use of time has made true multidisciplinary team working possible. Each team member has been able to listen to each other alongside the patient meaning that the patient no longer has to repeat themselves. Patients seem much more relaxed and open when in their own environment and the ‘quiz’ format of consultations has been replaced with a more ‘conversation’ style.”

Helen said: “Moving virtual consultations from telephone to video allows the team to see non-verbal cues which gives us a greater understanding of how people are feeling. Patients like to have all the team members there at the same time, even if it’s just a catch up.

This is also a great option for those with mobility problems. Challenges have been around access to technology for some patients, the range of technological capabilities and learning new skills for staff team and patients. We very much want to offer a blended approach to consultations; it really is down to individual patient choice”

We have introduced a sheet to help patients prepare for virtual consultations. Using this preparation guide can help patients to prepare in advance, focus their thoughts and help them to achieve what they need to get out of the consultation”

Patient checklist to prepare for virtual consultations

We then heard from members Ross Bennett and Scott Mclean who shared their experiences of virtual consultations with their centres including remote physiotherapy appointments.

Scott said: “To attend an appointment, I need to take a day off work to travel to and from the centre, so it’s much better to have a scheduled time to do a call while at home or work in a private area. This way of being in contact saves a lot of stress and anxiety and to be able to show a clinician a joint for example to identify a possible bleed than having to take time off work, travel there and back when you already feel anxious about a possible bleed.

There are certainly a lot of positives to going down this route and it just makes the contact and conversation with your centre much more viable. Especially in the current time but going forward this is something we should definitely be utilising.”

Ross said: “I had a bleed during lockdown and was able to see my physio about 10 times with no issues. I really like the ability to have virtual appointments, so I don’t have to spend ages going to and from the centre. Waiting times can be frustrating, this way I can use my time better rather than just sitting in a clinic if they are running late. Seeing my psyhio more regularly is really helpful for me.”

You can watch the webinar in full here: Virtual consultations – making the most of a new reality

The meeting was sponsored by Novo Nordisk including the provision of speakers and the development of the patient checklist.