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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 804254, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/804254
Research Article

Connecting Hospitalized Patients with Their Families: Case Series and Commentary

1Department of Pediatrics, Miller Children's Hospital, Long Beach, CA 90806, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, Naval Medical Center San Diego, San Diego, CA 92134, USA
3Department of Pediatrics, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
4Centre for Online Health, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
5Center for Health and Technology, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
6Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, UC Davis Children's Hospital, 2516 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA

Received 19 May 2011; Accepted 27 August 2011

Academic Editor: George Demiris

Copyright © 2011 Kourosh Parsapour et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The overall aim of this project was to ascertain the utilization of a custom-designed telemedicine service for patients to maintain close contact (via videoconference) with family and friends during hospitalization. We conducted a retrospective chart review of hospitalized patients (primarily children) with extended hospital length of stays. Telecommunication equipment was used to provide videoconference links from the patient's bedside to friends and family in the community. Thirty-six cases were managed during a five-year period (2006 to 2010). The most common reasons for using Family-Link were related to the logistical challenges of traveling to and from the hospital—principally due to distance, time, family commitments, and/or personal cost. We conclude that videoconferencing provides a solution to some barriers that may limit family presence and participation in care for hospitalized patients, and as a patient-centered innovation is likely to enhance patient and family satisfaction.