Our staff, patients and visitors are all expected to follow guidance on social distancing, mask wearing and testing while they are in our hospitals or community settings.
Revised guidelines for visitors to our inpatient services (March 2022)
The Trust has reviewed the current inpatient visiting guidance, in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions nationally. It is recognised that face-to-face contact is essential for recovery and valued by families/carers. Where possible face - to – face visits should be facilitated. In exceptional circumstances where visits are not practical then virtual visits should be supported and facilitated. Mobile phones and tablets are available for this purpose on each ward. Limited visiting will therefore be reinstated, with strict measures in place to minimise the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Review of visiting
A rise in hospital Covid-19 infections or a rise in Covid-19 infections in the local or national population, or any change to national Covid-19 restrictions, may lead to a review in the visiting guidelines at short notice.
More information and advice about Covid-19 can be found on the NHS website.
Informaiton about how to get the Covid-19 vaccination is available on the NHS website
For PHE leaflets in a range of languages and formats visit these links:
- What to expect after your first Covid-19 vaccination
- Covid-19 vaccination and blood clotting (English only)
- Covid-19 vaccine guides for older adults
- Guides for women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
- QR codes for vaccine leaflets in your language
- Easy-read leaflets (English only)
- Why you are being asked to wait for your Covid-19 vaccination
Visits to our wards
- All visits to hospital wards will be pre-arranged and booked through the Ward Manager, or their nominated deputy (e.g. Ward Administrator) - visitors arriving without a booking may be allowed on to the ward if the designated room is free, at the discretion of the Nurse in Charge, but should be reminded of the booking process
- Wherever possible visits to the hospital should take place away from the ward on the hospital grounds, or within ward gardens and outside spaces, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is much lower compared with indoor spaces
- Where outdoor visits are not feasible, each ward will have a designated room where visits are facilitated, which has been risk assessed to accommodate at least three people whilst maintaining social distancing
- Visitors will report to Reception on arrival to the ward, and be escorted to the visiting room once all the necessary checks have been completed
- Visits can take place seven days a week, but must be carefully planned to minimise footfall on the wards and prevent overcrowding at any time i.e. visits must not overlap
- Visits of an hour or longer can be accommodated but we ask visitors to be mindful that space can be limited and needs to be shared between all patients
- Booking schedules will allow 10 minutes between visits, allowing for a member of staff to surface clean the furniture (using Clinell wipes) prior to the next visit
- All visits must be recorded for Trust contact tracing purposes, and contact details for the visitors must be available (name, telephone number), ideally stored on ePJS for Information Governance purposes (with their permission)
- Visitors will be asked to use the hand sanitizer at the entry point to the ward before and after their visit, they will also be provided with fluid-resistant surgical masks on arrival which should be kept on throughout the visit, unless the visitor is exempt from wearing a mask
- Each patient will have two allocated visitors per visit, chosen by the patient themselves, with input/support from families/carers and the MDT where necessary, e.g. if the person lacks capacity to identify their preferred visitors
- Additional visitors may be granted under exceptional circumstances, e.g. if a patient is receiving end of life care – this should be agreed by the MDT and the rationale documented on ePJS.
- Swaps or changes to the agreed visitors should be discussed with the Ward Manager, who may escalate this to their Modern Matron/CSL for further support if needed.
When booking their visits, visitors will be advised of the expectations and requirements:
- Visitors and those they live with must not have any current symptoms of COVID-19, or be currently
- isolating after confirmed exposure to someone with COVID-19
- Visitors must put on a fresh fluid repellent surgical mask on arrival to the hospital, and dispose of
- this in a clinical waste bin as they leave
- Visitors must wash or sanitise their hands on arrival to the building, and again before leaving
- Visitors must provide staff with their name and contact number for Trust contact tracing purposes
- The 2 metre social distancing rule must be maintained at all times whilst on hospital premises
- Visitors are encouraged to conduct their own lateral flow tests prior to visiting (which can be
- obtained from the https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests).
- Visits for patients who are currently in isolation due to suspected or confirmed Covid-19 must be risk assessed on a case-by-case basis. The risk assessment must take account of any vulnerability
- [i.e. underlying health conditions] the visitor may have.
- Visitor restrictions may need to be implemented on wards where there is an active outbreak [visits
- can still be considered on a case-by-case basis, based on clinical need and individual risk assessment].
- Patients should be offered a fluid repellent surgical mask to use during the visit
- Patients will be encouraged to engage in good hand hygiene prior to and following the visit
- Patients will be reminded that the two-metre social distancing rule must be maintained at all times
To help keep everyone safe, we are offering more appointments by video and telephone.
Check your appointment letter or Register for Beth to confirm how your appointment will take place.
If your appointment is by telephone and/or video call, and you need any support call the number on your appointment letter.
Some things to consider:
- Having a quiet and private space to talk
- Your phone or device is charged or near charging point
- If it’s a video call your device wifi is on
- If it’s a video call, if possible, have a phone handy as a backup
In person appointments
If your appointment is in person, at one of our community or hospital sites:
- Don't arrive more than 10 minutes early for your appointment
- Clean your hands with sanitiser when you arrive
- Wear a face covering. We will provide one if needed.
- If you are exempt from wearing a mask, please call the number on your appointment letter so we can arrange other safety measures.
- If you are deaf or hearing impaired, we might use clear masks and visual aids such as writing things down, speech to text apps and sign language.
- Respect social distancing guidance during your visit, including while you are with your clinician.
- Help us limit the number of people on our sites by attending your appointment alone, unless you have assistance or communication needs.
Please do not attend your appointment if you have Covid-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss of sense of taste or smell) or if you or your family are self-isolating.
We have changed the way we provide medication to help reduce the risk of Covid for patients, carers and staff.
This might mean you receive a larger supply of tablets, or a depot injection every four weeks instead of every two weeks so you don't have to leave home so often.
Support in a crisis
Only visit Accident and Emergency (A&E) if you have a physical health emergency.
Our crisis page has all the information you need if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis.
Preparing a backup plan
If you are a carer, please consider preparing and sharing a backup plan for your loved one and your key contacts so everyone knows what to do if you become unwell.
The plan should include:
- Who to contact if you are unwell, such as family, friends or professionals
- Details of any ongoing treatment for the person you care for
- Details of their medication and when it should be taken
Carers UK has helpful information on how to create a back up plan.