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Table 2 Advantages and disadvantages of using video calls to support patients to die at home

From: Professional learning needs in using video calls identified through workshops

Advantages of Video calls
Reduce travel; Save time; Reduce stress for patients and families rather than attend hospital; Better access and help for remotely located patients; Good for out-of-hours; Compared to telephone call, more reassuring for some patients to see the HCP; HCP has more information for remote consultations.
Disadvantages of Video calls
Introduction of new, even simple technology becomes very difficult to understand; Video calls need to be simple to use and not add additional pressure; Possible loss of non-verbal signs; Lack of personal touch/presence; Issues of privacy changing from a telephone call to a video call; Perhaps inability to concentrate on what is being said given screen and technology; Concerns regarding security.
Scenarios
Scheduled versus unscheduled video calls; Medication queries e.g. identifying correct doses by holding up to camera; Symptoms/signs (e.g. breathing patterns), movement (e.g. exercise) – visual confirmation; Equipment problems e.g. syringe driver, nasogastric tube problems; Bringing distant family member into conversation; Case conference between family and multidisciplinary team more easily arranged; During a period of bad weather, it may be physically impossible to carry out a face-to-face visit.
  1. Note: A full list is presented in the Additional file 3