Kaitlyn and Amanda Sidhu consulting with neurologist Dr. James Lee in the new virtual care site at Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Fraser health)

BC Children’s Hospital launches 2 new virtual care sites bringing total to 19 across province

Provincial initiative allows pediatric patients to see health specialists through video

Every couple of months, Amanda Sidhu would have to make a stressful journey with her 11-year-old daughter all the way from Mission to Vancouver’s B.C. Children’s Hospital.

But with the recent opening of two new virtual care sites in the Fraser Health region, those sometimes two-hour drives won’t be as frequent.

“You’re looking at five hours to go [to Vancouver] for a 15 minute appointment,” Sidhu said. “So to be able to drive to Abbotsford in 10 minutes and see [our doctor] on a screen is amazing.”

Virtual care sites are a provincial initiative that allow pediatric patients to do virtual consultation with doctors at BC Children’s Hospital through video conferencing.

Sick children living in the Fraser Valley can now make appointments at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Chilliwack General Hospital with health specialists in over 40 fields.

These two new locations are the 18th and 19th sites opened across the province in a four year effort by respective provincial health authorities, Child Health BC and BC Children’s Hospital. The Fraser Health region is home to 42 per cent of all children in the province.

Sidhu’s daughter, Kaitlyn, has semi-lobar holoprosencephaly, a rare condition where the left side of the brain is fused with the right. The condition leads to other medical complications: Kaitlyn is in remission from cancer, relies on a wheelchair, has fragile bones, suffers seizures and requires a feeding tube.

The long drive to Vancouver, mostly for simple follow-up appointments, was stressful for both Kaitlyn and Sidhu.

Kaityln associates the BC Children’s hospital with the many surgeries she has endured in her lifetime. For Amanda, the trip means taking the entire day off work and getting a nurse to accompany them to Vancouver.

“It’s hard to get her to remember the fun and good things. She loves to see her doctors and nurses there, but at the same time, that association is instant right?” Sidhu said. “Like, what are you guys going to do to me this time?”

Kaitlyn had her second virtual appointment yesterday at the Abbotsford hospital for an IV treatment and consultation with her neurologist, Dr. James Lee.

Lee said he has been increasingly using virtual appointments for a substantial number of his patients who live outside of Vancouver. He called the program “fantastic.”

“We’re able to provide the same access of care, same quality of care regardless of geography, because we don’t want that to be a barrier,” he said. “We recognize it’s a major burden, travel requires pulling kids put of school, its taking time off work, it’s a lot of stress to our patients that are more medically complex.”

Doctors are able to share lab results, x-rays and other images through the screens. The on-site nurse allow the doctor to have hands in the room for physical examinations.

The high-definition screen and audio, as well as the interactive nature of of the experience simulates the real life patient-doctor relationship according to Janet Murphy, director of clinical operations for maternal infant child and youth care in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.

“I do see this as the wave of the future, particularly in pediatric care,” she said. “Fraser Health is all about supporting technology, innovation and helping improve our patient experience through that.”

RELATED: New Abbotsford ER expansion expected to welcome patients in October 2020


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Apparent gas leak on Highway 33 in Kelowna

Emergency crews have taped off access to Centex Gas on Highway 33 near Asher Road

Kelowna RCMP plan mini parade past KGH to recognize health care workers

Kelowna officers will flash lights and sounds both Saturday and Sunday night

Perry and Stanley awarded top UBC Okanagan rookies

The volleyball star and soccer star won the prize over Heat’s virtual awards banquet

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in South Okanagan house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

WATCH: Okanagan producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Okanagan woman baking for those in need amid COVID-19

Vernon’s Crystal Hedlund launched a GoFundMe page to generate funds for baking materials

Most Read