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Hospital finds way to let critical patient watch dad's funeral

HEARTFELT GOODBYE: Pastoral carer David Johnstone with recovering Toowoomba Hospital patient Healen Jackson who was able to watch her father's funeral from her hospital bed thanks to telehealth technology.
HEARTFELT GOODBYE: Pastoral carer David Johnstone with recovering Toowoomba Hospital patient Healen Jackson who was able to watch her father's funeral from her hospital bed thanks to telehealth technology.

A TOOWOOMBA Hospital patient in the critical care unit was able to witness her father's funeral, thanks to the use of telehealth technology.

Healen Jackson desperately wanted to attend the funeral of her beloved father who passed away while she was in hospital.

That's when pastoral carer David Johnstone and his team came up with the idea to use the hospital's technology to allow Mrs Jackson to view the funeral from her hospital bed.

The pastoral care team consulted clinical nurse consultant Carrie Bourke from the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service telehealth service to see if there was a way to connect to the funeral using the technology.

"We set up a PEXIP link on Healen's cousin's phone," Mr Johnstone said.

"When her cousin arrived at the funeral, Healen was able to login via a tablet we provided for her and view the proceedings and feel very much part of the occasion."

The technology worked perfectly.

Mrs Jackson was able to pay her respects in real time from her hospital bed surrounded by family members, flowers and photos of her father.

"I was so pleased it could be done," she said.

"It felt like I was a part of the day because I could see all the people there and could listen to the stories that were told."

Mrs Jackson said that she was happy to see that her father, who worked as a cattle musterer for most of his life, was buried with his trusty hat and stockwhip.

However, the funeral also had a pleasant surprise in store for her.

"I was shocked to see that my brother and his children led the procession from the funeral service to the cemetery on horseback," she said.

"My dad would have loved that because he was a real bushman and it was so special to be able to see it."

Mr Johnstone said that the success of the funeral link made him think about how the Toowoomba Hospital's pastoral care team could make a greater impact using technology.

"We could talk to palliative care patients who have gone home or support people in rural towns or train new pastoral carers to support even more patients," he said.

"There are many possibilities."

Topics:  funeral telehealth toowoomba toowoomba hospital


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