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

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into Northern Sentinel office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Expect delays between Terrace and Prince Rupert on Highway 16

Avalanche control work is planned between Legaic Rd and Frank St. for 136.8 km

Four things ‘not’ to do if you run into Prince Harry and Meghan in B.C.

Here is a list of some things you definitely should NOT do, according to the BBC

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Canadian public health agencies ramping up preparations in response to new virus

Health officials have said there are no confirmed cases of the emerging coronavirus in Canada

‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

The comedian has been suffering from a rare form of dementia

Theo the 800-pound pig trimmed down and still looking for love on Vancouver Island

“He’s doing really well, lost quite a few pounds and can run now.”

Horgan unveils B.C. cabinet shuffle changes

Premier John Horgan has made three major changes to his cabinet

Most Read