Visiting and keeping in touch during the Coronavirus pandemic

Visiting arrangements 

In line with the introduction of national restrictions from 5 November 2020, the Trust has taken the decision to suspend hospital visiting at all three hospital sites and Wakefield Intermediate Care Unit until further notice to minimise the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff.

Please note: This does not apply to visiting Maternity wards or visiting Children who are in hospital or the five day ease in restrictions during the festive period.

This will undoubtedly be difficult for our patients, their families and carers. We fully appreciate this and will be ensuring that loved ones can keep in touch in a variety of different ways and will make visiting possible in exceptional circumstances.

Visiting in exceptional circumstances

There will be special exceptions for visitors in the following circumstances:

  • Immediate family members/partners of those at end of life
  • Carers for patients who require assistance e.g. supporting someone with a mental health condition, dementia, delirium, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed
  • Patients may be accompanied where appropriate and necessary to assist their communication and/or to meet their health, religious or spiritual care needs.

Guidance for visiting in exceptional circumstances

Before visiting, the visitor should call the ward directly between the hours of 10am – 11am to discuss appropriate arrangements and what to expect when they visit. This should include:

  • A verbal ‘symptom check’ carried out by ward staff to ensure that the visitor does not have any symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature / new, continuous cough / loss or change to sense of smell or taste) and check the visitor is not self-isolating. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolating should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.
  • That their details (name and contact details) will be recorded to aid the NHS Test and Trace teams if contact tracing is indicated.
  • Ensuring that the visitor is following any local or national restrictions in their area of residence related to travel and social contact.

What to expect when attending a hospital site

  • A face mask or face covering must be worn at the hospital at all times.
  • You may have to wait to gain access to the ward if high numbers of visitors present.
  • Staff may have to restrict or shorten the visit in order to maintain social distancing.
  • It is important to maintain a 2 metre social distance during your visit and when entering and leaving the hospital building, including all communal areas and lifts.
  • Avoid touching any surfaces, entering and leaving the setting as quickly as possible using the most direct route.
  • Hand hygiene - use the hand sanitiser provided or soap and water where available:
    • on arrival to the hospital on entering the ward/department
    • when donning/doffing relevant PPE
    • on leaving the patient bed space and ward/department
    • on leaving the hospital building
    • as soon as they get home.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or mask/face covering with unwashed hands.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • Bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.
  • Ward staff will be wearing appropriate PPE.

This patient information leaflet gives more information. Social distancing patient information leaflet 170KB

As long as visiting guidance is followed, visitors do not need to self-isolate after a visit. If at any point a visitor displays symptoms of COVID-19 they should self-isolate at home and organise a test; members of their household should also self-isolate for 14 days.

Virtual visiting MY Loved Ones and virtual communication

The Trust understands the value and importance of ensuring that our patients can keep in touch with their loved ones. We will continue to encourage and support people to utilise other ways of keeping in touch with their loved ones in hospital, such as Family Liaison, supporting phone and video calls, the Message from home service and the Connecting Care hearts. Virtual visiting will be supported and facilitated through our MY Loved Ones initiative.

Visit our dedicated website page for more information on end of life care during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This guidance is based on the NHS ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: principles’ (CO751, 13 October 2020)