It may feel dauting having a virtual appointment rather than a normal face-to-face appointment, so we’ve caught up with our Lead Stoma Care Nurse, Alison Roberts, who shares with us some great advice ahead of your next appointment and how to prepare for the before, during and after.
Virtual appointments can have advantaged, such as;
1. Reduction in the possible exposure to the Covid virus.
2. Can reduce time and stress and the expense of travel and hospital parking, this may be beneficial if your symptoms require you to be near a toilet.
3. Can fit around family/work life.
4. Direct sources of information and support such as links to website resources.
However, sometimes a virtual appointment may not be appropriate for every situation and face-to-face appointments may be your preference. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable asking for a face-to-face appointment but be aware that these are very limited and only offered in certain situations.
Before your appointment think about what matters to you and what you want to get out of the appointment, and make note of all symptoms/changes in conditions however mild, that you have had since your last appointment so that you can refer to them during the consultation and nothing gets overlooked. And write down any questions you may have.
Preparing for the call
- Calls will be safe and secure. You will receive an email or letter to tell you the time of the appointment and how the call will work.
- If you would like a family member present (this may be preferable to ensure all information can be recollected) or have any communication needs you must let your Health Care Professional know what support will make the virtual appointment work for you.
- Make sure the Health Care Professional has the correct telephone number/ email address to contact you.
- Calls from Hospitals etc may be seen on your telephone as ‘No caller ID’ or ‘Number withheld’ .
- Find a quiet and comfortable place where you will not be disturbed during your appointment.
- Ensure you have a good phone signal or internet connection.
- If the consultation is by video, ensure you have good lighting so that your Health Care Professional can see how you look.
- You can ask to record the call or make notes, so you can look back at what has been discussed.
During your appointment
Treat a virtual appointment as you would a face-to-face consultation, and you should have the same amount of time.
- Your Health Care Professional will introduce themselves and you will be asked details to confirm that they are talking to the correct person, this will probably be your date of birth and the first line of your address.
- Relax and take your time. Look at your Health Care Professional if it is a video call you don’t need to look directly into the camera.
- Be honest about your condition, especially if you are struggling with your mental health.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for clarification if you are unsure. Phrases like ‘can you help me understand’ or ‘so you mean’ can be helpful. Ask your Health Care Professional to repeat themselves if you miss something or don’t understand.
- The Consultation will conclude with a summary of the key points from your Health Care Professional, any plans for further action and a follow-up appointment if necessary, ask if the next appointment will be face to face or virtually.
After your appointment
- It is helpful to keep a note of what was said.
- What happens next?
- What is your Health Care Professional going to do??
- What are your next steps?
- Record any future appointments in your diary.