Visiting and keeping in touch during the Coronavirus pandemic
Even from 19 July a face covering must be worn in our hospitals and community health centres at all times. Please note that if you are unable to wear a face covering you will not be permitted to visit any patients in any of our hospitals. The only exception to this will be if you are visiting a patient at the end of their life and have medical exemption from wearing a face covering.
Whilst Covid restrictions have lifted across the country, there will still be some restrictions in place around visiting. This is to help keep all our patients - some of who are very ill, staff and visitors safe from Covid-19. We have, however, made some changes to the process. It will no longer be necessary for you to ring the ward you wish to visit to arrange your appointment beforehand, and the evening session has been extended by an hour to give people more opportunity to visit.
As a reminder:
- visitors are only permitted on areas where there are no suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patients (apart from in exceptional circumstances such as the end of life)
- visitors are strictly limited to one visitor per patient at each time slot
- visiting will only be facilitated between the hours of 2pm - 4pm and 6pm – 8pm unless there are exceptional circumstances (patients can receive visitors at both sessions but only one per session)
Please note: This does not apply to visiting Maternity wards or visiting Children who are in hospital and in circumstances where patients are reaching the end of their life. There is also a limited visiting policy in place on Critical Care - please contact the ward and they will be able to advise further.
Please do not enter the hospital if you have symptoms of Covid-19, are living with someone who has tested positive or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and have been asked to isolate.
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.
- A face covering must be worn at the hospital at all times. Please note that if you are unable to wear a face covering you will not be permitted to visit any patients in any of our hospitals. The only exception to this will be if you are visiting a patient at the end of their life and have medical exemption from wearing a face covering.
- You may have to wait to gain access to the ward if high numbers of visitors are present.
- Staff may have to restrict or shorten the visit in order to maintain social distancing. This patient information leaflet gives more information about social distancing. Social distancing patient information leaflet 170KB
- 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 you 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.
As long as visiting guidance is followed, visitors do not need to self-isolate after a visit. If at any point you display symptoms of COVID-19 you 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)