New visiting arrangements are being introduced at the county’s hospitals, in light of rapidly rising rates of Covid infection across the country.
The new arrangements, which will come into effect from Saturday 18 December, mean that open, general visiting to adult wards is suspended. However, visits can be pre-arranged with the wards in certain circumstances, for example on compassionate grounds. Visiting may also be eased further in special circumstances and where patients would benefit from a carer being with them – for example for ongoing personal, physical and emotional care and support. This might include patients with learning disabilities, dementia or other vulnerabilities.
The Trusts also ask all visitors, as well as patients attending appointments, to complete a lateral flow test prior to visiting to check their Covid negative status. Proof of this will need to be provided to ward staff.
When visiting the wards, people will be required to wear a hospital supplied face mask and comply with social distancing and hand hygiene guidance as advised by our staff.
John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “While this is not an easy decision to take, we know that many patients, carers and families have now become used to staying in touch in different ways – perhaps by phone or social media. We will always ensure that if there is a particular need for a visit, such as on compassionate grounds and for patients with, for example, dementia, mental health conditions and learning disabilities, this will be supported on a case by case basis.”
It is important that people of all ages still attend medical appointments and patients can be reassured that, due to careful infection prevention and control procedures, transmission rates in our hospitals remain low. Those attending appointments are encouraged to attend alone whenever possible, to reduce the number of people in hospital buildings.
The new visiting arrangements come into effect from 18 December and were further updated from 2 January.
All visitors are reminded:
- Do not visit healthcare facilities if you have Covid symptoms, even if you have been vaccinated and have had a booster
- Anyone feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster, should not visit
- Please use a Lateral flow test to check that you are not Covid positive before visiting and provide proof of this when visiting the ward
- Lateral Flow tests are available from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests or collecting from your local pharmacy or community coaction pint, info here
- When visiting, please ensure you wear a hospital supplied face mask at all times
- If you have a medical exemption for wearing a face covering, please consider whether your medical condition makes you more vulnerable to infection if visiting and use digital options where possible
- Social distancing and hand washing remain very important everywhere – particularly in hospitals
The updated arrangements will apply to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) and seven community hospitals in the county:
- The Dilke (Cinderford)
- North Cotswolds (Moreton-in-Marsh)
- The Vale (Dursley)
They are also applicable to the county’s mental health and learning disability inpatient units:
- Wotton Lawn (Gloucester)
- Charlton Lane (Cheltenham)
- Berkeley House (Stroud)
- Laurel House (Cheltenham)
- Honeybourne (Cheltenham)
Adult in-patient settings (including mental health and learning disability inpatient units)
- General visiting to adult wards is currently suspended
- By arrangement with the nurse-in-charge, visiting is allowed for adults who require support in special circumstances by an established carer who is a household member or a member of their support bubble as described below.
o Patients with dementia, delirium or cognitive impairment that require support from an established carer in accordance with the principles of John’s campaign.
o Patients with mental health needs who require support from an established carer.
o Patients with autism or learning disabilities who require support from an established carer.
- Visiting is encouraged for those receiving bad news or at the end of life. This should be limited to household members or carers. There is no time limit but limited to two individuals.
- Visiting to Coronavirus Wards or to patients exposed to Coronavirus is not permitted. It is expected that the majority of those wishing to visit a patient with confirmed Coronavirus would be self-isolating. However, if any requests are made to visit patients with Coronavirus, they must come through the nurse in charge of the ward, who will take advice from the Infection Prevention & Control Team.
For visiting arrangements for maternity services, please visit Maternity Services during COVID (gloshospitals.nhs.uk)
Children’s Wards and Neonatal Intensive Care (only applies to Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS FT) – please visit – Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (gloshospitals.nhs.uk)
Accompanying someone to an Emergency Department, MIIU or other urgent care attendance
Patients can be accompanied in the Emergency Department or Minor Injury and Illness Unit waiting room until they have seen the triage nurse at which point the visitor will be asked to leave if required to do so.
Accompanying someone to an outpatient appointment
Patients can be accompanied to an outpatient appointment if there is a need to do so such as supporting with impaired mobility, cognitive impairment or other needs.