Hospitals in Gloucestershire are easing visiting restrictions further from Monday (17 May).
The new arrangements still mean that one visitor will be allowed per patient; however, visits can increase to up to two hours, rather than one hour as previously. Visiting times will be extended by two hours, from 12noon to 8pm and visitors no longer need to be from the same household or family bubble. Visitors are still expected to maintain social distancing, follow hand hygiene guidance and wear face coverings.
Visiting may 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 whilst in hospital. This might include patients with learning disabilities, dementia or other vulnerabilities.
Professor Steve Hams, Director of Quality and Chief Nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are still being cautious but by gradually easing visiting restrictions we are able to keep a close eye on infection and transmission rates, while offering our patients and their loved ones more flexibility and freedom. We’re really grateful to all our visitors for sticking with us this far, and hope this next step is just as successful and well received.”
John Trevains, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are confident in taking this next step to ease visiting restrictions but will keep the situation under review for the next few weeks. As a county we have taken great strides in bringing down infections and rolling out the vaccination programme and this is a natural result – more human contact for our patients and their friends and families.”
From 17 May onwards, visiting guidance for adult inpatient areas is as follows:
• One visitor can visit one patient for up to two hours a day at a prearranged time between 12noon and 8pm
• Visits should be booked in advance via ward staff
• Visitors must wear a PPE face mask and keep 2 metres away from other people
• We ask all visitors to wash their hands before entering and leaving the building and to use the hand sanitiser outside each ward and department
• If you have a medical mask exemption please discuss the additional support you will require to stay safe and help protect others on your visit with the nurse in charge of the ward
• If you would like to request a visit for exceptional reasons or to provide personal care and support to a vulnerable patient, please speak to the nurse in charge of the ward.
Please do not visit if:
• You are required to self-isolate because you live in a household where someone has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
• You have tested positive for COVID-19, including via a lateral flow test
• You are displaying symptoms of COVID-19
• Visitors who were previously shielding should remain cautious about visiting and have strict adherence to the social distancing, face mask and hand hygiene guidelines.
Accompanying others into hospital:
• Patients may be accompanied where appropriate and necessary to assist their communication and/or to meet their health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs.
• One parent or guardian may accompany a person under the age of 16 to the Emergency Department, Minor Injury and Illness Units, or to an Outpatients appointment.
• Access to Maternity Services is also being updated next week – details to follow
• If you are planning to collect a patient leaving hospital, please contact the ward for instructions on where to meet them. Only one person should enter the hospital building to collect a patient. Please do not wait for patients inside the hospital building, unless you have been asked to by a member of staff. This is because having lots of people inside the hospital increases the risk of infection to patients, staff and volunteers.
The updated restrictions 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)
Children’s Wards and Neonatal Intensive Care (only applies to GHNHSFT)
• As previously, visiting is restricted to parents, carers or guardians only and must be household members or a member of the support bubble.
• Only 2 visitors are allowed per child at any one time. This should be the same 2 visitors on each occasion
• Please discuss siblings visiting with the nurse in charge
• Only 2 visitors are permitted on the neonatal ward at any one time, this should be parents or guardians only; if parents, both can visit at the same time