Visiting the hospital

Posted on Fri, 26/03/2021

Information updated Monday 4 April 2022

We know it is a very worrying time when your relative or friend is admitted to the hospital.  The following information will let you know what is happening in the hospital and how it may affect you.

Will I still be able to visit?

Visiting is currently welcomed in inpatient settings, in a very careful and Covid-secure way. This is under regular review and is subject to change while Covid-19 continues to be in general circulation. The health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff remain our overall priority.

Visiting is limited to two designated close family contact or somebody important to the patient (ideally to be the same visitor for the duration of the stay), by booking in advance an appointment to visit the patient on the ward by telephoning the nurse-in-charge. Visiting is for a maximum time limit of 1 hour. You will be given a time slot for visiting as we need to restrict the number of visitors at any one time on the ward and bay areas. Please do not attend if you are showing any type of COVID symptoms.

Visiting times should be allocated between 10.00 and 19.00 and visitors are not allowed to stay overnight except for exceptional circumstances or use the patient toilet facilities (public facilities remain open).

No patient visiting will be allowed on Ward 22, SDEC and the Emergency Department, except for exceptional circumstances at the nurse in charge discretion such as patient receiving end of life care/ assist with communication/ health/emotional/religious or spiritual care needs.

For patients who require additional support in special circumstances by an established carer who is a household member, additional visiting may be approved at the discretion of the Nurse-in-charge. Please note that all visiting may be subject to change if there is a Covid-19 outbreak in a ward area. The special circumstances that may be considered on an individual basis are:

  • Patients with dementia, delirium or cognitive impairment who require support from an established carer in accordance with the principles of John’s campaign.
  • Patients with mental health needs who require support from an established carer.
  • Patients with autism or learning disabilities who require support from an established carer.
  • Birthing people can bring one support person - please follow guidance on visiting the maternity unit 
  • For those patients receiving bad news, one visitor is welcome to be with the patient.
  • For those who are at the end of life, there is no time limit for how long you can spend visiting, but this is limited to two individuals at any one time.
  • One parent or legal guardian can accompany children.
  • Patients can be accompanied in the Emergency Department or Ambulatory Care waiting room until they have seen the Triage Nurse at which point the visitor will be asked to leave if required to do so.
  • Patients can be accompanied to an Outpatient appointment if there is an identified need such as supporting with impaired mobility, cognitive impairment or other needs.

Practical principles

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has drawn up some practical principles to be considered and will apply these flexibly, humanely and sensitively in the particular context of each patient and their family. Further clarification can be sought by contacting the ward.  The ward can also gain clarity by contacting the Infection, Prevention and Control Team at the hospital.

To be able to visit a patient, visitors must:

  • Two named visitors must pre-book an appointment to visit a patient. This is to make sure we can accommodate a set number of visitors within the clinical areas. The visitor must ring the Ward to book this appointment by prior arrangement with the Nurse-in-charge of the Ward.
  • Visiting is limited to two designated close family contact or somebody important to the patient (ideally to be the same two visitors for the duration of the stay).
  • Please do not come to any of our hospitals if you do not have a pre-arranged visiting appointment as you will not be able to visit.
  • Visitors will be expected to wear a face mask at all times from the point of entry to the hospital. Face masks are available at all hospital entrances; disposal facilities are also available.
  • In all cases, visitors must consent to wear Personal Protective Equipment appropriate to the area you are visiting, and undertake all other relevant hand hygiene requirements equivalent to that used by care staff in the specific care facility. Hospital staff will provide guidance for you if this is required and will provide support to visitors to put on and remove equipment as necessary.  This may include wearing a mask, apron, visors or goggles and gloves
  • 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
  • Visitors must NOT attend the hospital if they have:
    • Have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, any loss of smell or taste or diarrhoea or vomiting
    • Social distancing and handwashing remain very important everywhere – particularly in hospitals.
  • Visitors should be directed to their designated area of visiting and encouraged to remain at the bed space as much as possible during their visit.
  • If the ward/department is declared as a COVID outbreak then visiting will be stopped, except for exceptional circumstances at the nurse in charges discretion such as patient receiving end of life care/ assist with communication/ health/emotional/religious or spiritual care needs.
  • If the ward/department has a bay or bays closed due to a patient testing COVID positive within a bay, advice on appropriate visiting will be issued by the outbreak meeting.
  • On leaving the hospital, visitors must go directly home and shower or bathe. Clothes must be washed at 60 degrees. 

 Visitors will be asked for their contact details as they need to be registered on entry to clinical area for track and trace purposes.

In all instances, visitors must agree to undertake the subsequent isolation and quarantine restrictions appropriate to the level of contact that has occurred in association with their visits eg. if visiting/in close contact with a patient with Covid-19. 

Wherever possible, our visiting arrangements will aim to meet the individual needs of patients and their families, but these may need to change at short notice due to local or national Covid-19 related restrictions.

It is important that people of all ages still attend their medical appointments; these may be face to face or by telephone. Those attending appointments in the hospital are encouraged to attend alone whenever possible, to reduce the number of people in hospital buildings.

How can I keep in touch with patients in the hospital?

We understand that not being able to visit your loved one will cause you and them upset and distress, therefore we have introduced the following measures to help you to stay in touch. These include:

•        Sending a message to loved ones

•        Bedside telephone calls

•        Virtual visiting

•        Give and Go scheme where you can drop off patient belongings to the main reception at designated times

 

Find out about how to use all of the schemes we have in place to contact our patients by visiting: https://www.qegateshead.nhs.uk/keeping-in-touch or by watching this video https://youtu.be/5UW48JvJLLI  

This decision is being reviewed frequently

We will continue to monitor and consider this position to look at the possible, safe reintroduction of normal visiting and how this would be managed. Current restrictions will remain in place while community prevalence, hospital admissions and outbreaks remain high.

Please be kind to our colleagues when they are making arrangements with you, they are following our guidelines to help protect all patients.

We do hope the information within this leaflet is helpful, however, if you are worried, need further information, or have any suggestions about how we can support patients and visitors to stay in touch please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service via email on ghnt.pals.service@nhs.net or alternatively contact 0800 9530667 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and leave a message, the answerphone is checked regularly and someone will ring you back.

Data Protection

Any personal information is kept confidential.  There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.

In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics. 

Further information is available via Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust website (https://www.qegateshead.nhs.uk/fairprocessing) or by contacting the Data Protection Officer by telephone on 0191 445 8418 or by email ghnt.ig.team@nhs.net.


Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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