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Visiting information

We are pleased to be able to reintroduce limited visiting across our inpatient wards at our hospitals. Although COVID-19 infection is still present in our communities, we understand how important visits are as a source of emotional support and wellbeing for our patients. So that we can safely reintroduce visiting, visits will be pre-booked with an allocated appointment slot that facilitates the ‘Rule of One’ approach.

This means that patients may receive up to one visitor per day for up to an hour - unless there are exceptional circumstances where additional visiting is needed. This is to maintain social distancing, particularly in bay areas.

When it has been agreed with a patient that they would like a visitor, the ward will contact the named visitor and arrange a slot for them to attend the ward. The visitor’s name and contact details will be recorded by the ward to aid with relevant contact tracing requirements if needed. If you are contacted by the ward to arrange a visit, please let our staff know if you require any reasonable adjustments, such as if you need to be accompanied by a carer.

Additional visiting can be arranged in the following exceptional circumstances. Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements:

  • A maximum of two visitors for patients who are in their last hours / days and receiving end of life care.
  • One carer who is supporting someone with a mental health issue, cognitive impairment such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

Please note, visiting can be restricted or suspended with immediate effect if there are any concerns that safety measures have been compromised, or evidence of a spread of infection on our wards or in our communities.

If you are feeling unwell, have respiratory symptoms, have received a positive COVID-19 test result within the last 10 days, have been a contact of someone with COVID-19 within the past 10 days, or have had diarrhoea or vomiting within the past 48 hours, please do not attend, cancel your visit and notify ward staff.

We recommend that you undertake a Lateral Flow Test 48 hours before visiting hospital, and only attend if this test result is negative. 

 

Visiting restrictions

To maintain the safety of patients, families and visitors, current visiting restrictions must remain in place in:

  • Emergency Departments
  • Acute Medical Units
  • Observation and Assessment Units (including Emergency Surgical Assessment Unit)
  • Ambulatory Care Units
  • Outpatient Departments
  • Wards/bays designated for patients with COVID-19 

If you are attending one of our emergency departments, one carer is permitted to accompany a patient in exceptional circumstances. Please speak to staff on arrival for more information. Any other relatives or friends will be required to wait outside of the hospital.

If you are attending an outpatient appointment, to maintain safe social distancing and reduce the risk of infection, we please ask that you attend your appointment alone. If you need to be accompanied, one carer is permitted in exceptional circumstances, but please discuss this with your care team beforehand. Any other relatives or friends will be required to wait outside of the hospital.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding at this challenging time. We will review these arrangements on a regular basis.

 

FAQs

Q. How do I book a visiting appointment slot?

Visiting appointment slots will be will be managed at the discretion of individual wards. We require visits to be pre-booked with an allocated appointment slot that facilitates the ‘Rule of One’ approach.

When it has been agreed with a patient that they would like a visitor, the ward will contact the named visitor and arrange a slot for them to attend the ward. The visitor’s name and contact details will be recorded by the ward to aid with relevant contact tracing requirements if needed.

Additional visiting can be arranged in the following exceptional circumstances. Please contact the ward or department in advance to discuss appropriate arrangements:

  • A maximum of two visitors for patients who are in their last hours / days and receiving end of life care.
  • One carer who is supporting someone with a mental health issue, cognitive impairment such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

 

Q. How will I be kept safe whilst visiting?

To help prevent infection spreading and to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, there are a number of safety measures currently in place in our hospitals:

  • Upon entry to our hospitals, face coverings must be worn at all times, covering both the mouth and nose. If you do not have a face covering, a face mask will be provided.

  • Visitors must also wear the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the ward you are visiting. You will be guided by staff on the ward on what PPE must be worn before entering a bay or room.

  • Please walk on the left at all times in corridors and if using lifts, follow any guidance.

  • Maintaining good hand hygiene is important, and all visitors are encouraged to wash or sanitising their hands regularly whilst in our hospitals, and upon entry and exit to a ward.

Q. Can I hug the patient?

Visitors must maintain social distancing of at least 2m (6ft) between staff and patients. This means that any physical contact with patients, such as hugging, holding hands and kissing, is currently not allowed and only permitted in exceptional circumstances such as for patients who are in their last hours / days and receiving end of life care. This is to maintain safety and minimise risk to the patient and visitor, as well as our staff. Further guidance can be sought by ward staff.

Q. Can I bring in anything for the patient?

For infection control purposes, the only personal property that can be received in to the organisation are:

  • Mobile phones
  • Mobile phone chargers
  • Tablet devices
  • E-readers (e.g. Kindle)
  • Nightwear
  • Underwear
  • Clothing for discharge

Exceptions to this list will be made for items such as glasses, dentures, hearing aids and walking aids.

Visitors can bring the above items in with them if they have a pre-booked appointment slot. If no slot is booked, they will need to contact the wards directly and arrange to drop off property.

Q. Are there other ways of staying in touch?

We know that not everyone will be able to visit their loved one in hospital. We still fully support virtual visiting and the use of phones/tablets whilst on the wards to contact friends and family, unless advised otherwise. This can be arranged directly with the wards. More information is available here. 

Q. Do I need to be tested before visiting?

It is not compulsory for visitors to have a test for Covid-19 prior to visiting. All visitors must follow national guidelines and not attend if they are feeling unwell or are required to self-isolate. Guidance on testing may change at short notice and you will be informed if this is the case.

If you are feeling unwell, have respiratory symptoms, have been a contact of someone with COVID-19 within the past 10 days, or have had diarrhoea or vomiting within the past 48 hours, please postpone your appointment and notify ward staff.