Messaging service reintroduced for hospital inpatients

Chaplains will deliver messages for patients whose relatives can’t be with them.

A messaging service which brought joy to patients in hospital last Christmas and New Year is being offered again this festive season.

Hospital chaplains working across Castle Hill Hospital and Hull Royal Infirmary launched the service in December 2021, when hospital visiting was still heavily restricted due to Covid-19 infection risks.

The service enabled patients who were unable to see or communicate with loved ones, largely due to visiting restrictions at the time, to receive heart-felt messages – either spoken or hand-delivered – via the hospital chaplaincy team.

The service proved incredibly popular, with season’s greetings and ‘get well’ wishes received for patients from as far afield as Canada.

Now, as we approach the festive season once again, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s Pastoral and Spiritual Care Team will be reintroducing the messaging service to help bring those who can’t be with their loved ones that little bit closer.

Reverend Tony Brookes, Head of Chaplaincy, says: “There are many reasons why people can’t always speak to or visit their loved ones in hospital. Last year, visiting restrictions made seeing loved ones difficult, but issues such as geographical location, personal commitments or people’s own health or communication issues may also make it difficult to keep in touch if a family member or friend is admitted to hospital.

“Last Christmas and New Year, we really saw the value of the messaging service we offered, both to our patients and to the families and friends we spoke with. A ‘get well’ message or a Merry Christmas wish can really help to boost the spirits of someone in hospital, and it’s such a simple thing to do.

“Not all patients have mobile phones, and not all patients are well enough to use them, so by taking messages out to patients again, we’re hoping to be able to spread some festive cheer, bring people together and remind those in hospital that their loved ones are thinking of them even if they can’t physically be with them.”

To send a message to a relative or friend in hospital via the chaplaincy team, simply email, providing the name of the patient, the ward, unit or department they are on, which hospital they are in, and any other detail/information which may help the team to identify the patient. The service will operate Monday to Friday, across both HRI and Castle Hill, with any messages sent over the weekend being picked up on the following Monday.

Tony continues: “Having a loved one in hospital and not being able to see them can be a difficult and worrying time, and being apart from loved ones over Christmas can be even more upsetting for some.

“Many of those patients we saw last year were pleasantly surprised to see us as they were feeling lonely without visitors, and for those we were able to visit on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the contact proved to be the highlight of their day, an unexpected Christmas present.

“It was a true privilege for us to be able to support patients and families in this way and we look forward to being able to bring people together once again this festive season.”