It's 3am and my child's ill… how Help@hand's remote GP service came to the rescue
Seeing your child unwell is worrying for any parent. But when you’re watching them deteriorate at 3am, you’re scared, and the only place open is Accident & Emergency at a hospital miles away, where on Earth do you turn? Here’s how Help@hand from Unum helped one mother through the worrying early hours.
It’s an understatement to say that Priya has her hands full. She’s mum to two young children, and her role in the marketing department of a large financial services company carries a heavy workload. “Like all working parents my life is a juggling act,” she says. “Everything has to be meticulously organised — and if something goes wrong it can be a nightmare. If one of the children is ill it throws everything up in the air.”
Priya’s company believes in a healthy work/life balance and actively encourages people to take time off when they are unwell, or if they need to take care of a loved one. But even with flexible working, booking (and attending) a GP appointment at short notice is often difficult for mums like Priya.
“My son had been a bit under the weather so I was keeping an eye on him,” explains Priya. “We were having breakfast and when he turned to talk to his sister, I noticed he had specks of blood in his ears. He obviously needed to be checked out but I’d got no idea how long it would take to get a GP appointment at the surgery — plus I had to get to work.”
Fortunately, Priya had access to the health and wellbeing app Help@hand from Unum through her company’s Group Income Protection policy.1 Importantly for this worried mum, Help@hand includes a remote GP service, so she logged in and booked a consultation.
“It was amazing. I got a video appointment with a GP in the UK within the hour. The doctor gave my son a thorough examination, just using the camera on my phone! He said he thought it was a mild ear infection and told me to continue to keep an eye on him. He had a cold too, so he was pretty miserable.” The GP also instructed Priya to give her boy some children’s paracetamol if his temperature went up, and to make another appointment if she felt she needed it.
“I sat up with him all night and he was really restless, crying in his sleep,” continues Priya. “By about 3am his breathing had become worse and I was pretty concerned. I didn’t want to take him to A&E if I could avoid it — I was on my own, so I would have had to drag both children to hospital. So I booked another appointment through Help@hand and we saw another GP a couple of hours later.”
This second doctor asked Priya to take off the little boy’s pyjama top so he could monitor the way his chest was moving. “He really took his time,” says Priya. “Thankfully he decided that, although my son was clearly not well, he didn’t need to go to hospital. Then he told me exactly what symptoms I should look for and told me to head straight to A&E if any of them occurred. And again, he said I should book another appointment if necessary.”
With a little careful nursing, Priya’s son recovered over the next 48 hours and was soon back to normal. “That’s kids for you, isn’t it?” laughs Priya. “I’m so relieved he’s better — and so grateful to those doctors. They were really patient and both had such a lovely manner. It took the stress out of a very worrying situation and gave me confidence in the very early hours of the morning.”
Unum is dedicated to making a difference. Watch our video, where our employees say in their own words why they’re proud to come to work every day. Read real-life stories from Unum customers and their employees revealing just how we help the working world thrive — for everyone’s benefit.
Unum’s award-winning Help@hand app provides market-leading, total health and wellbeing services. As well as the remote GP that proved so valuable to Priya, Help@hand offers unlimited mental health support,2 physiotherapy, 360 Wellbeing Score assessments and a fully-integrated employee assistance programme.
Help@hand is provided at no extra cost to Unum’s Group Risk policyholders. For more information about the app and its services, or how to register and how to roll out the service visit our dedicated Help@hand page
1 Help@hand is provided to Unum Group customers by Square Health. It offers access to services designed to manage the health and wellbeing of employees and their families. Help@hand is entirely separate from any Unum insurance policy. Help@hand is not part of the insurance contract, is provided by Unum for no additional cost to its customers, and Unum can withdraw or change the service in the future. Help@hand is available to UK residents only.
2 For mild to moderate issues. Number of sessions subject to clinical appropriateness. Should the service be no longer suitable, users will be directed to alternative appropriate support.
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