Virtual Care appointments at the Heart Function Clinic help improve patients' confidence
COVID-19 has meant big changes to Fiona Peacock’s work day as a registered nurse with the Heart Function Clinic at Valley Regional Hospital.
As a nurse with 30 years of experience, Peacock was able to quickly adapt when the clinic started providing virtual appointments for patients over Zoom for Healthcare in early April.
“Our clinic has already been doing some appointments over the phone, which has helped with the transition to video appointments,” said Peacock. “There were some small challenges at first as we got comfortable with the technology, and overall the appointments have been marvelous, and we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from the patients.”
Staff with the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Heart Function Clinic assist patients with heart failure to improve their heart function and manage their symptoms through education and medication management.
Joseph MacDougall was Peacock’s first patient to participate in a virtual intake appointment.
“Being able to see the nurse during my appointment really helped build trust and make me feel more confident in the care I was receiving,” said MacDougall. “I think it made it better than if we were just speaking over the phone.”
Peacock echoed MacDougall’s feelings that it's easier to build a trusting relationship when you can see someone ‘face-to-face’ over video.
“Being able to actually see the patient helps to complete the picture and gives me a lot of valuable clues that I wouldn’t get over the phone,” said Peacock. “This is a wonderful use of technology to support patients.”
“Some of our patients come to the clinic from as far away as Digby, so being able to offer them virtual appointments makes it a lot more accessible and less stressful.”
She sees the addition of virtual care as a positive step for the Heart Function clinic, and another important tool for giving patients timely and accessible care, in addition to telephone appointments.
“Even with the challenges of COVID-19, our patients are still supported and cared about.”