The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is enabling friends and relatives to spend more time with their loved ones when they visit them in hospital.
From Tuesday 1 March 2016 all three hospitals in the Trust (Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury and District) will have open visiting, meaning that people can visit patients when they wish. It will also provide the opportunity for the carers of patients to remain with their loved one, where appropriate, and be actively involved in their care.
David Melia, Acting Chief Nurse at The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our priority is to provide quality care for our patients and we can optimise this by involving and recognising the invaluable role and contribution that family and carers provide.”
In other hospitals, where open visiting has been introduced, it has been shown to improve patient wellbeing. “Having loved ones around more often can make a patient’s stay much more comfortable,” continued David, “and help to counteract feelings of loneliness or separation. They can also be valuable in helping with elements of care, such as feeding. Some patients are more inclined to eat and drink more if they are fed by a loved one.
“We also recognise not all friends and relatives can visit at set times. By having a more flexible approach we hope it will make things easier for people at a time that can often be stressful.
"Having a steady stream of visitors rather than an influx at certain times in the day should also help with the smooth day to day running of the wards, and may help to ease car park congestion at the busiest points of the day.
All this comes as welcome news to Louise Cook. The 44 year old from Upton, who was at Pinderfields to visit her father, said: “For people like me who work this is great news. It’s difficult in the evening as you don’t get much time to spend with your loved ones by the time you get here, so being able to stay for as long as you want will be much better.
“I can understand why some areas may still need to restrict times to make sure that the care they give is never compromised, but having friends and family around you more when you are in hospital must be a comforting thing.”
A visitors’ charter will be available on all wards, setting out guidelines that both staff and visitors will need to adhere to, such as the number of visitors per bed and the steps to take to help infection control.