Mother watching over ill child

It's 3am and my child's ill… Help@hand's remote GP service case study

When your child’s sick, it can be a worrying time for any parent. But where do you turn when it’s 3am, you’re scared, and the only place open is Accident & Emergency at a hospital potentially some distance away?

Here’s how Help@hand from Unum helped one mother through the worrying early hours.

The employee's role

This employee works within the Marketing department of an insurance company and deals with product enhancements. Her demanding role involves working with both internal and external customers, and a busy workload.

While the company actively encourages people to take time off when needed for health and childcare reasons, and promotes flexible working, booking an appointment with a GP can still be difficult, especially at short notice.

Help@hand's remote GP service in action

While checking on her 15-month-old son at breakfast one morning, the employee noticed specks of blood in both of his ears. She was due to go to work in just a few hours’ time, but was understandably worried, and unsure whether she would have the time to take him to the doctor – even if she was able to get an appointment.

The employee had access to Help@hand from Unum through her company’s Group Income Protection policy. The service provides five health and wellbeing services through a single app, including a remote GP, mental health support, a second opinion service, physiotherapy, and an Employee Assistance Programme.

Using Help@hand’s remote GP service, she was able to book a video appointment with a UK-based GP within one hour. During the consultation, the GP was able to examine the employee’s son through the smartphone’s camera, enabling him to carry out a thorough review.

While he suspected a mild ear infection was the cause, her son also had a cold, so the GP asked the mother to monitor the situation and if he developed a temperature, to give him children’s paracetemol. But to reassure her, the GP also said to make another appointment if anything changed or she became worried.

That night, the employee’s son started crying in his sleep and was breathing very heavily.

The mother sat up with him for a few hours, but his breathing became worse.

By now it was about 3am and with another child asleep in the house, the mother only wanted to take him to A&E if it was needed.

She made another booking through Help@hand and got a GP appointment within two hours. Again, the doctor carried out a detailed review, asking her to take off her son’s shirt so he could see his chest and clavicle movement, watching his breathing for more than five minutes.

The GP confirmed her son’s clavicle movement was normal and that the best thing she could do was to continue to monitor him. He also gave the mother clear instructions on what symptoms to look for and to take him to A&E if any of these occurred. Again, he also suggested she make another appointment if she had any further concerns over her son’s health.

She monitored him as recommended, and her son’s symptoms resolved gradually over the next 48 hours.

"Despite the early hours, both doctors were really patient and had a lovely manner. It took the stress out of what was a worrying situation for me – one that gains even greater significance in the small hours."
The employee's view

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