A Dorset centenarian was able to celebrate her 100th birthday with a virtual visit from her family.

Vera Carlyle, a patient at the Westhaven Hospital in Weymouth was able to celebrate her 100th birthday with her family, despite current restrictions.

Whilst her relatives were unable to visit the site for her big day, staff at the Dorset HealthCare-run hospital organised a video call instead.

This was part of a video call service set up by Dorset HealthCare to help keep patients connected with family and friends in the absence of face-to-face visits as a result of the pandemic.

As reported, Portland resident Vera was disappointed that she might not be able to celebrate with family - some of whom were due to fly over from New Zealand before lockdown scuppered the birthday plans.

A call went out for people in the community to send Mrs Carlyle a birthday card so she would have 100 cards to open on her hundredth birthday - but in fact she received over 200 cards on her big day.

Mrs Carlyle said: “While it was difficult to not celebrate with my family in person, I felt very lucky that the hospital could organise a video call with them.

“They could still see me open my card from the Queen.”

Mrs Carlyle is a patient at the Radipole Ward, a 34-bedded ward of Westhaven Hospital, which provides care for elderly people requiring rehabilitation, palliative care, stroke and dementia care.

Inpatient visits have been suspended across the UK since the beginning of the outbreak, but all inpatients at Dorset’s community hospitals can now interact with family and friends through this service.

Pauline Carlyle, Vera’s daughter-in-law, said: “We are very thankful to the team at Radipole Ward for making Vera’s birthday so special. She is home now, and able to enjoy her cards – over 200 of them - and flowers in her own surroundings.”

Relatives and friends can make a request online to speak to a patient and a staff member will make arrangements for a call.

Once arranged, family members or friends just need to log in to the platform via the Dorset HealthCare website at the agreed time.

A staff member will be on hand to start the virtual visit for the patient and will be able to support them throughout the call if necessary.

If you have a family member who is a patient at a Dorset HealthCare community hospital or mental health inpatient unit, contact the site directly or visit the Dorset HealthCare website to request a call.

For further details, visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk.