From an office positioned in the main entrance of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) team can see hundreds, if not thousands, of people passing by each day. But due to Covid-19 this figure is now much lower as people are being advised not to come to the hospital unless it is absolutely necessary.
This advice relates to visitors too, meaning that the face-to-face support that the PALS team usually provides to patients and their friends and families, helping them navigate the complex world of health and social care, including dealing with problems and complaints, has changed over recent weeks.
Sam Gilder, PALS and Complaints Manager has been working with the Trust for five years and in the PALS department for the past three. She said they remain on hand to provide support, particularly at this difficult time: “We’re still open and colleagues have been doing a great job in finding ways to continue the much-valued support for patients and their friends and families, while observing the social distancing rules. We’re doing a lot more work over the phone and by email at the moment instead of face-to-face meetings.”
One thing the team has noticed is that a message delivery service, that they usually provide for people who are unable to visit in person, has recently been growing in popularity.
Sam said: “The PALS team is particularly proud that we’ve been able to help many people get messages to their loved ones here in hospital, while they’re not able to visit. It has been lovely to hear that the simple act of us printing email messages and ensuring they are received on the wards has been a real comfort for a number of people. I would like to thank the team for all of their hard work.
“It’s a privilege to know that this is making a difference. And the team and I are pleased that as the word gets out about this service it is becoming more and more popular.”
If you wish to send a message to a friend or relative on our wards, you can telephone 01553 613351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The Trust is also using smartphones on its COVID-19 wards to allow patients to speak directly to families and friends online.
For more information on the work of the PALS team, and the support they can provide, visit the PALS section on The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn website.