Hospital visiting: advice and guidance

The winter vomiting and diarrhoea virus, also known as norovirus, is currently circulating in the community.

The Trust recommends simple, practical steps to minimise the risk of contracting the illness and of spreading the virus, especially to older people and those with underlying health conditions who may be more vulnerable.

The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, which can begin suddenly. This can also be accompanied by a raised temperature, headache and sore limbs.

It is very important that people who have symptoms do not visit hospitals, their GP surgery, or nursing and residential homes. The illness can last as little as 12 hours or up to three days and the best treatment is to stay at home, rest, take plenty of fluids, and reduce contact with others, both in the home and at work.

If you need to visit one of our hospital wards at this time please follow the measures listed below:

• Two visitors only, to each patient during designated visiting times
• No sitting on beds
• Encourage children not to visit where possible
• When entering and leaving the ward please wash your hands
• Do not visit relatives if you are, or have been symptomatic with Norovirus in the last 48 hours.

The very infectious virus can be easily spread in close-knit communities such as residential or nursing homes, schools, hospitals and workplaces. While it is unpleasant, there are steps we all can take to help protect ourselves and others:

• Always maintain good personal hygiene, in particular wash your hands after going to the toilet and before preparing or eating food.
• If you are vomiting or have diarrhoea, don’t visit friends or relatives in hospital or residential and nursing homes, and avoid visiting your GP’s surgery – it is much better to phone for advice first.
• Stay off school or work, until at least 48 hours after any symptoms stop.

The reality for most people is that this is a short-term, unpleasant illness, with most of us getting better within a few days. However, we can all play our and help to protect more vulnerable people, to whom it can present a more serious risk. The Trust greatly values everyone’s help in following this advice.

For further information for patients and visitors to healthcare facilities on norovirus (‘winter vomiting bug’) and how to prevent the spread of infection visit www.pha.site/leafletsHCAI

Watch the information video featuring the Give My Head Peace Gang: Visiting Rules

Page last updated:20 December 2016