The Cystic Fibrosis team at University Hospital Galway are making greater use of technology than ever to keep up their work during the coronavirus pandemic.
The team have turned to video conferencing to replace face to face outpatient appointments with people who have Cystic Fibrosis as the health system has been turned towards the Covid-19 crisis.
All non-essential appointments and procedures at UHG have been deferred
Dr Michael O’Mahony is the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Physician and he said they were lucky to have already received Sláintecare funding for a telemedicine project.
This would, and will in normal times, be used to increase the level of physiotherapy input into patient care, with video conferences between outpatient appointments.
“We were lucky to have the set-up in place so that when social distancing became a necessity at the hospital and most outpatient appointments were cancelled, we turned to this technology.”
Patients can now have a video consultation with the team at UHG, where they each talk to the patient individually about their care, going through their different specialities.
“Patients get to speak to myself, the Clinical Nurse Specialist, the Dietitian, the Physiotherapist and our Psychologist as required, via the video link,” Dr O’Mahony said.
“Each of the team can access the video link in different consultation rooms which means that we are able to observe social distancing as well.”
Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease primarily affecting the lungs and digestive system.
It causes them to become clogged with a sticky mucus, and has no known cure.
The video conferencing covers everything a cystic fibrosis patient would normally get from an outpatient appoint, Dr O’Mahony said, save for spirometry testing and measuring vital signs.
But, he added, they plan to roll out even more technology based solutions which can record patients’ physiological data in their home as part of a pilot study.
Dr O’Mahony concluded by urging everyone to abide by the health advice and social restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic in recent days.
“As we deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, I urge everyone to comply with all the public health advice to keep yourself and others protected.
“Hand hygiene, cough etiquette and staying at home are all very important if we want to slow down the spread of this disease and save lives.”