Important information for visitors - update

Important information for visitors

Updated 23 March 2021

All wards are still closed to visitors in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

To reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect our patients and staff, all wards are still closed to visitors. Visitors will only be allowed in the exceptional circumstances identified below. This has been a difficult decision to make but we feel we cannot prevent the risk of spreading the infection if we allow visitors back to our hospitals.  

Visitors will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, including: 

  • For patients at the end of their lives. Where it is possible to maintain social distancing throughout the visit, a second additional visitor may be permitted, but this must be discussed and arranged in advance with the nursing staff. 
  • One regular carer for a patient with additional needs, such as a patient with dementia, autism, learning disability or other impairments. In these cases, the visitor will go through the same COVID-19 shielding (14 days of isolation) and testing procedure as the patient (you can ask the ward nurse for further information about this) 
  • One parent/guardian for a child. 

Virtual visiting

We understand how important the support of family and friends can be for patients in their recovery while they are in hospital so while visiting restrictions are in place, patients are encouraged to use 'virtual visiting' to ensure contact with friends and family is maintained. Ward staff will try to make sure patients have access to, and support with, electronic devices such as iPads and smartphones, whenever needed. We have a small supply in the hospital, but please bring your own where possible.

Visiting a patient with additional needs

Patients with additional needs include those who need a carer/family member to help with communication and/or to meet their health or social care needs.

For example, patients with a learning disability, autism, advanced dementia or other impairments, which may mean they have difficulty following medical advice and treatment without the support of a family member or carer.

Family members or carers who plan to visit someone who needs additional support, are asked to tell members of the clinical team before the patient comes into hospital or tell them as soon as possible if the patient’s visit to hospital is unplanned.

Before visiting a patient, family members or carers need to:

1. Make sure the visit is agreed with the ward nurse in charge before visiting.

2. Complete COVID-19 screening measures – a symptoms questionnaire with staff and a temperature check when entering the hospital. The ward nurse will help to arrange this.

3. When entering the hospital, you must clean your hands using the hand sanitiser provided and put on a facemask. The facemask must cover your nose and mouth and you should not touch or remove it throughout your visit. Follow other personal protective equipment (PPE) guidance as directed by staff during your visit, who will also guide you on how to remove and dispose of the PPE appropriately. 

You must also: 

  • Not come to the hospital if you are feeling unwell, including cold or flu symptoms
  • Wash or gel your hands frequently while in the hospital. You should also avoid touching your face, wherever possible, and wash/sanitise your hands before putting on and removing your face covering.
  • Keep a two-metre distance between yourself and anyone you come across during your visit. You may see markings on the floor in our buildings to help you comply with this.
  • Follow the additional measures that will be requested by our staff if you are visiting a patient with an infection
  • Not belong to the high-risk group identified by Public Health England as those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus
  • Follow NHS guidance related to how to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus.

When you arrive home, we advise that you remove and wash your clothing and take a shower or bath. You do not need to self-isolate after your visit as the risk of virus transmission will have been minimised by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment and hand washing. However, should you or someone you live with, develop symptoms of coronavirus you must self-isolate in line with Government guidance and arrange for a COVID-19 test.

It is important to note that coming into hospital and/or visiting someone who has COVID-19 may increase your risk of infection.  

We will regularly review visiting arrangements. We thank you for co-operating with us during this time.

Further support

Our family support team is also available to provide support to patients and their families. If you are a patient and think that a member of your family would benefit from additional support while you are in hospital, or if you are a family member or carer who wants to send a patient a message, please get in touch by emailing familysupport@rbht.nhs.uk

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