Visiting children who are in hospital

The national suspension on visiting has now been lifted. Guidance for visiting will be set by each individual Trust.

We are very pleased to be able to start welcoming visitors back. We appreciate how hard it has been to keep in touch with loved ones who are in hospital with these restrictions in place. We’d like to thank you for your support and understanding during this difficult time.

The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and individuals and teams remain our absolute priority, and with that in mind, we will begin to introduce visiting to our hospitals in phases and will continue to review our policy.

Visiting arrangements for our children’s service:

  • Children’s wards:  two parents/carers can visit their child during the day, but only one parent/carer can stay with their child during the night. 
  • Elective Surgery: One parent/carer can accompany their child for surgery.
  • Paediatric Emergency departments and Children’s Assessment Units at Dewsbury and Pinderfields: Only one parent/carer to accompany their child.
  • Neonatal Unit: One parent/carer can visit at a time (day and night).
  • Outpatient areas: One parent/carer can accompany their child.
  • Transitional care: One other parent/carer can visit.
  • No siblings can currently visit any areas.
  • The two metre social distancing must adhered to, which will restrict the number of visitors able to visit a bay/ward at one time (depending on the size).

Exceptions

In the following circumstances there may be more flexibility, this requires agreement of the Nurse in charge:

  • Parent with a learning disability or mental health condition.

Paediatrics:

  •  End of Life: an additional visitor may be permitted in inpatients and outpatients if giving diagnosis.
  • Single parent: Siblings may be allowed to visit if there are difficulties finding childcare. 

 Neonates:

  • End of Life: an additional visitor may be permitted.
  • Single parent with no family support: (Play Specialists will support by caring for children in designated area for up to one hour per day).

 Transitional care:

  • Single parent:  one additional relative can visit.

MY Loved Ones and virtual communication

Where a face-to-face visit is not practical virtual visits should be supported and facilitated through the ‘MY Loves Ones’ initiative. Through this, you can keep up-to-date on your loved one’s wellbeing. We can also facilitate communication through our message from home service, video and phone calls. For more information please visit out dedicated MY Loves Ones web page.

Advice for visitors

To ensure that we can maintain our levels of safety for everyone, it is important for everyone to follow the expert national guidance on social distancing and self-isolation, staying at home wherever possible, to help limit the spread of COVID-19, protect the most vulnerable people in our communities and our NHS. 

Before allowing parents/carers/ visitors to enter any clinical area:

  • A verbal ‘symptom check’ should be 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).
  • Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.

What to expect when they attend the hospital site:

  • Visitors must wear their own face mask or face covering at all times (see specific PPE guidance).
  • Visitors may have to wait to gain access to the ward if high numbers of visitors are present.
  • Ward staff may have to restrict or shorten visits in order to maintain social distancing.
  • It is important to maintain the two metre social distancing during visits and as you enter and leave 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 - using the disinfectant 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.
  • To avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth or mask/face-covering with unwashed hands.
  • To cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
  • To bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.
  • Minimal dining areas are available for the public at present.
  • Ward staff will be wearing PPE 

As long as visiting guidance is followed, visitors do not need to self-isolate afterwards as a result of the 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.

PPE guidance

  • All visitors must wear their own face mask or face covering at all times whilst in the hospital building with the following additional guidance/exceptions:
  • Children’s wards ‘green’ areas: parents/carers may remove their face covering whilst in a side room with their child.
  • Children’s wards 'red’ areas: parents/carers to wear a fluid resistant surgical mask on entering the area and if leaving the side room/bay or entering communal areas.  Parents/carers may remove their face covering whilst in a side room with their child.
  • Where aerosol generating procedures are taking place: parents/carers must wear a fluid resistant surgical mask, apron and gloves.

Visiting children and young people who are at the end of life care

  • These measures relate to visits to children who are close to the end of their lives (24 to 48hrs), recognising this can be difficult to assess with accuracy:
  • Where possible, the dying child should be accommodated in a single room with access to handwashing facilities.
  • It is important that, where possible, up to two visitors a time should be considered (including a child). 
  • Sadly, if the parent or carer is suspected of being infected with Covid-19, or any other serious infectious disease, they will not, in principle, be allowed to visit until they are known to be well again. However, it may be possible to enable attendance by moving the child to a separate location or providing PPE for the parent or carer. The family and staff will ensure that during this difficult time extra measures will be put in place to keep the parent and carers updated and in such cases another member of the family or someone close to the child should be able to visit instead.
  • If the visitor is in a household that is self-isolating as they have been in contact with someone else who is suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19 but is asymptomatic the potential to enable attendance should be discussed with the Infection Prevention Control team or Clinical Site manager (out of hours).
  • Visitors are able to hold their loved one’s hand without the need for gloves but must wash their hands before and after.

*This information is in line with the ‘Visiting healthcare inpatient settings during the COVID-19 pandemic’ (5 June 2020) which replaces previous NHS ‘Visitor guidance’ (8 April 2020)