Visiting a Patient

Hospital visiting suspended

We understand how difficult it is not being able to freely visit your loved one in hospital at this time. In order to keep  everyone safe, and with consideration of new Covid-19 variants emerging, liaising closely with our partners at Public Health England, our restricted visiting remains in place at this time to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and communities.

We hope to welcome visitors back as soon as possible and will to do this in a safe and controlled way supporting you, your loved one and our teams here at the trust. Our senior leadership team continually review the visiting position and are working towards ways of reintroducing visiting in a safe and supportive way.

As a Trust we are facilitating compassionate visiting and ask that you discuss directly with the ward area to arrange visiting on compassionate grounds. Compassionate visiting is promoted for end of life care, registered carers or for families supporting loved ones with dementia, learning disabilities, autism, or those requiring additional support for mental health and well-being. One person may visit with prior agreement where the patient requires additional support in making decisions relating to their care or when receiving information about a diagnosis. Support can also be offered by a relative or loved one to support the patient in meeting their communication, health, social or spiritual care needs and where not visiting may have a detrimental impact on their overall health/ well-being.

For the full list of exemption criteria for Compassionate visiting please see below.

If you should be self-isolating, i.e. staying at home because you have or may have coronavirus, you must not visit our hospitals, even if you meet the exemption criteria. 

Guidance on when to self-isolate is available on the NHS website here: NHS self-isolation advice

If you are self-isolating, please use other ways of keeping in touch with your loved ones, such as phone and video calls or our "letters for loved ones" initiative. You can see the different ways you might like to keep in touch here, or read about our Essential Care Package Delivery Service for inpatients on this page, just click on 'Essential Care Package Delivery Service'.

All visiting at this time is suspended except for the exemptions listed below. 

Guide for visiting patients in our hospitals

Visiting Exemption Criteria

We understand how difficult not being able to freely visit your loved one/family member in hospital is at this time. While general visiting is currently suspended on all our hospital sites we are continuing to support visiting in the following circumstances with prior agreement from Ward Managers or Nurse in Charge.

  • Two parents or guardians may visit children under the age of 18, but only one parent/guardian will be able to stay overnight in hospital at any one time
  • If a woman remains longer than 24 hrs on the postnatal ward or baby is in neonatal unit then we would consider partner visiting between 10-6pm on an individual basis.
  • Parents of babies on the Neonatal Unit can visit the unit anytime by contacting the nurse in charge.
  • If social distancing can be maintained a maximum of two close family members or other loved ones to visit a patient during their end of life care, or when the patient has passed away. If social distancing between these visitors is not possible, then only one person should attend
  • One person may visit to support a patient who has dementia, a learning disability or autism, if this visitor not being present would cause distress
  • One person may, where the ward manager or nurse in charge agrees that it is in the patients best interests and at a time and date pre-arranged, visit a patient currently managing new diagnosis, complex health needs, mental health needs and offer support to the patients well-being and assist in decisions relating to their care
  • One person may visit with prior agreement where the patient requires additional support to meet their communication, health, social or spiritual care needs and where not visiting may have a detrimental impact on their overall health/ well-being
  • If a recommended summary plan for emergency care and treatment (ReSPECT) is required a visit should be arranged to support the patient and support information for the family
  • A visit prior to surgery may be arranged if family are being informed that the patient may require high dependency care/ ITU following the procedure 
  • Exceptional circumstances may be considered to allow children under the age of 18 to visit if adult support is present and prior agreement is made

Maternity and A&E departments continue with their agreed arrangements but remain at the discretion of the Ward Managers.

Before you visit, please ensure your visiting agreement is in place with the ward. A member of staff will go through a screening checklist with you which, is in place to keep our patients and hospitals safe. These questions include asking you if you have had a Covid19 test and about any high-risk health conditions you or members of your household may have which mean that you are at higher risk of contracting Coronavirus. This might include being immunocompromised, or suffering from renal failure, heart failure, liver failure or a chronic lung condition. If this is the case, to ensure your safety we may unfortunately not be able to accommodate your visit at this time.

We are also asking anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus - such as a temperature, loss of taste or smell, or a cough - to remain at home to ensure the safety of our patients, staff and visitors. Where symptoms develop during a visit, visitors will be asked to leave and advised to self-isolate at home for 10 days and organise a test (via the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test), by calling 119 free 7am-11pm or from the local pharmacy. Other members of your household will also need to self-isolate for 10 days, as per government guidance. We will also need to ask you if you have been in contact with anyone who has shown symptoms of Coronavirus.

For any visitors coming to our hospitals, risks to visitors will be risk assessed promptly. This will be carried out by the Ward Manager or nominated person.

If your visit can go ahead, you will be given instructions on where to go and who to ask for on your arrival at the hospital. At the ward you will have your temperature checked and asked again if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus.

Transport

If you are unable to drive yourself, you should arrange to be driven to and from the hospital by a member of your household, if possible, to minimise the risk of exposure to others: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Please only bring as few personal belongings as possible with you, e.g. bags, handbags, electronic devices, gifts and food for the patient.

Please remove your outer clothing, e.g. coat or jacket, roll up your sleeves and clean your hands.

Wearing of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Face masks are available at the entrances to our hospitals and you are asked to wear this when entering and moving through the hospital.

You may be asked to wear further PPE (personal protective equipment) when visiting a patient on a ward or Intensive Care Unit. The clinical team will let you know what this is, but it could include gloves, an apron, a gown and visor.

The clinical team will guide you on how to:

  • Decontaminate hands using alcohol hand rub or soap and water
  • Correctly put on the Personal Protective Equipment
  • Safely remove the Personal Protective Equipment
  • Dispose of the Personal Protective Equipment correctly (into a clinical waste bin).
  • Decontaminate hands using alcohol hand rub or soap and water following removal of PPE.

We are only able to have one family member at the bedside. This may be relaxed for patients who are near the end of their lives.

If you need to eat or drink or use the toilet during your visit, please inform the clinical team as you will need to follow the correct infection control procedures and leave the ward.

If you are unsure at any point or have any questions please speak to a member of the team who will be happy to help.

We welcome Carers at our hospitals and we do not consider Carers to be Visitors.

If you are unclear about any of the questions you are asked or any of the processes, please do ask our staff who are here to help you.

We also have a Patient Services team who can support with any concerns you may have. The Patient Advice and Liaison Team can be contacted on 0300 123 1732 or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you for your continued support with this difficult decision that will help us to better protect staff, visitors and patients from infection.