If visiting or sending flowers is not possible, then an email will be just as welcome by patients at Timaru Hospital.
Since 2002 the hospital has forwarded an average of two to five emails to patients a week.
Communications manager Nicola Pearce said hospital telephonists had experienced an increase in the number of emails for patients over the past few years, mainly from overseas relations or friends, and anticipated it would increase in popularity.
People without access to a computer could ring the hospital and the telephonist would take down the details and pass it to the appropriate wards.
Emails need the patient's name in the subject line. They can be sent to: messagetopatient@ scdhb.health.nz.
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