Visiting time is now online
People on Teesside are among the first in the country to benefit from a new service helping them keep in touch with loved ones while they are in hospital.
A new website, Just Visiting, provides a free, online meeting place where friends and family of patients can stay up to date and in touch, from anywhere in the world and at any time.
Users can create a secure 'visiting room' and then invite friends and relatives to join. The person in charge of the account can post regular bulletins on how the patient is doing and authorised visitors can leave messages of support for the patient and for each other.
Author and broadcaster Bill Bryson is one of many prominent figures backing the initiative. He said: "Justvisiting.com is a wonderful idea founded on the principles of real community and friendship and could provide support to any one of us when those we love are in need of our care."
Chris Willis, chief executive of NHS Tees said: "Justvisiting.com is a fantastic idea which makes things easier for patients, relatives and NHS staff.
"The site takes a lot of the strain out of keeping everyone up to date with how a loved one is doing while they're in hospital."
The website was founded by North East publican Paul Smith and his colleagues Jeff Cummings and Michael Lavery.
Mr Lavery said: "The site has already attracted more than 15,000 visitors and has users logging on from around the world.
"Everyone has been impressed with the site's simplicity and the benefits it can bring to patients, their loved ones, visitors, nursing and care staff.
"Users of the site can create or visit an ‘online visiting room' which establishes a network for all those touched by a patient's recovery in hospital. The site is free to use and, unlike other social media sites, complementary advice and information from established web services like NHS Choices and NHS Direct is just a click away.
Just Visiting is now live and free to use with a prize draw for new users. To find out more or to join the website, visit www.justvisiting.com.
Photograph courtesy of www.careimages.com