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

Wheels in motion for mountain biking trail project near Clinton

Project to provide immediate employment while resulting in new trail on Jesmond Mountain

New wildfire springs up north of Clinton; lightning suspected as cause

Fire is not a flare-up of blaze that started on Aug. 1 near 51 Mile Creek

Financial assistance available for victims of flooding in TNRD

Government will pay 80% of eligible claims resulting from flood damage

Clinton RCMP looking for Citizens on Patrol program volunteers

Organizer hoping to have enough people to get program started in September

Free online course aims to keep care home residents, staff safe

Course gives basic COVID-19 information and safety procedures for visitors to protect the vulnerable

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Most Read