Support for patients receiving care in hospital is more important than ever.
And that is the goal of the pilot Virtual Visiting Program at Albury Wodonga Health.
With help from medical students and an iPad, patients in the acute unit at Wodonga hospital have been receiving visitors virtually since the beginning of June.
The benefits have been tenfold.
Albury Wodonga Health director of pandemic response said due to the Victorian government's health directive only allowing one visitor per patient in hospitals, the staff had to get creative.
"This is a challenge we are seeing right across the country and it is about us getting that really good balance around that person-centered care and knowing that person has support around them," she said.
"This is really one of the ways we have been working with patients and the community around doing this.
"The spin-off benefits for the medical students is really about relating with patients, learning about their skills of communication and carting for patients - that is really important.
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"We are really asking people to be understanding, this is a pretty unusual time to be in a pandemic and we really appreciate the community's support.
"We understand how frustrating it might be some times to have a designated visitor but we have certainly been reviewing our guidelines for our emergency departments and intensive care and we are looking at opportunities to have more visitors in those areas for immediate family."
Acute unit nurse manager Leanne Wegener said the program was driven by palliative care physician Dr Chi Li.
"He brought his experience in a palliative care setting and he saw the opportunity during these times to bring it to a general ward setting," she said.
"I think it has been so successful and my plan on my ward will be to have it ongoing, and we are hoping once volunteers can come back to the organisation safely that we will use a volunteers in the evenings for this program.
"There might be also be a bit of upskilling for them as well because the majority of them are from that older demographic so there might be some shared benefit.
"It really has great value for patients to be socially connecting while in a hospital setting.
"For some people in the community they would like to come but with work and family commitments they often find it hard to get in here during visiting hours and that can be hard on both the family and patient.
"I would like to see this program rolled out across the health service."