Dropping off / picking up patient property while in hospital


The Trust has implemented the new visiting arrangements set out by the Department of Health. These guidelines are to protect patients, residents and staff from Covid-19 – while recognizing the importance of human contact to health and well-being.

To help patients and relatives manage belongings, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust have re-established the ‘Drop off / Pick Up Service.’

The following procedure should be followed, when friends/family members wish to ‘drop off / pick up’ relatives’ essential belongs.

Do not come to the hospital if you have any Covid 19 symptoms

What are essential belongings/items?

Examples of essential items are as follows:-

  • Toiletries – Soap, toothpaste/brush, shower gel, deodorant, face cloth, towel.
  • Clothing/Nightwear – Pyjamas/nightgown, dressing gown, underwear, appropriate footwear.

Can I bring food up for my family member/friend?

If bringing food up for you family member/friend, it should be kept to a minimum

  • Examples of items NOT allowed – Sandwiches, salads, yogurts, homemade or take away food.
  • Examples of items allowed – tinned or individually covered biscuits, crisps, chocolates, diluting/mineral drinks.

When can items be ‘dropped off / picked up’?

Antrim Area Hospital: All inpatient wards – Relatives ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ service. This service is currently available Monday – Sunday, 9.00am – 8.00pm.

Causeway Hospital, Coleraine: All Inpatient Wards (except Ross Thompson) – Relatives ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’ service. This service is currently available Monday – Sunday, 4.00pm-8.00pm

At the main entrance of the Hospitals. You are not permitted to go to the hospital wards.

Only one relative/friend should bring essential belongings

Other Inpatient areas

  • Holywell (including Ross Thompson)
  • Robinson
  • Inver
  • Dalriada
  • Whiteabbey Hospital
  • Mid-Ulster Hospital
  • Macmillan Unit

Outside of new visiting arrangements, contact individual wards to arrange additional ‘drop off / pick up’ of personal belongings.

Procedure for packing items for ‘drop off’

  • Wash your hands
  • Place all items in a disposable bag
  • Seal the bag
  • Ensure the patients’ full name and name of ward, is on to the front of the bag.

Please advise the staff if you are collecting property and they will go to the ward to arrange ‘Pick Up’ of the items. This will be in a bag and labelled and information for laundering clothes will be given.

What is the procedure for ‘drop off’ and ‘pick up’?

  • Only arrive at / during the appropriate time slot
  • At the ‘Drop off / Pick up’ point in each hospital a sign will be displayed
  • Ensure social distancing at all times (2 metres apart)
  • Ensure you are wearing a face mask
  • If ‘Dropping off’ items, hand the bag containing personal belongings to a staff member who will then deliver to the ward. Ensure the bag is sealed, with the patients’ name, and ward on the front of the bag.
  • If ‘Picking up’ only, let the member of staff know the patients name and the ward they are on. Wait in the foyer area / queue (ensuring social distancing) until the staff member returns from the ward with the items.

Procedure for laundering of Covid-19 patients’ clothing/nightwear

For suspected or confirmed Covid-19 patients, the procedure for laundering of clothing/nightwear should be followed:

  • Wash / sanitise hands before removing sealed water-soluble alginate bag, from outer bag.
  • Place the water-soluble bag straight into the washing machine. Wash your hands after placing the bag into the machine. Do not place on the floor or other surfaces. Do not open the bag. It has been designed to go straight into the washing machine on its own.
  • Dispose of outer bag in normal household waste. Wash hands
  • Do not pre-rinse the laundry in a sink.
  • Do not add other clothing to the machine. This will allow full agitation of the bag and its contents.
  • Do not wash more than one bag of infected / soiled linen at a time.
  • Use a biological powder / liquid / tablet if possible.
  • Always use a full wash – do not use settings such as ‘half load’ or ‘quick wash’.
  • Wash your hands after placing the bag into the machine.

When the washing cycle is complete; remove the plastic bag and dispose of in your normal household waste.

Regular hand-washing when handling patients clothing is vital.   

If using public laundromat

If using a public laundromat, follow the procedure above, but wait 72 hours before using same.

27th January 2021

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