Visiting Arrangements

NHSCT Visiting Arrangements  

The Department of Health issued updated visiting guidance with effect from 31 October 2022,  This guidance has been adopted by the Northern Trust.

The Infection Control Outbreak Control Team may on occasions recommend that routine visiting arrangements be suspended; staff will inform patients and their visitors should this occur.  

We ask that: 

  • Patients inform nursing staff of their preferred visiting arrangements.  
  • Visitors do not visit, if symptomatic even if they test negative for COVID-19. 
  • Visitors adhere to good Infection Prevention and Control practice in all areas of the hospital. In particular, there are certain areas/wards where we care for vulnerable patients/service users and you may still be asked to wear Face coverings, and any other necessary PPE, as directed by nursing staff.  This may also be the case if a ward is in outbreak when use of face coverings may be requested and some restrictions to visiting may be introduced following dynamic risk assessment.
  • Visitors wash hands or use the hand sanitiser before and after visiting 
  •  Visitors make themselves aware of the risks involved in visiting their loved one, and work with the ward/care setting 
  • Visitors  stay with the person they are visiting throughout the visit, minimising movement around the hospital/care home and maintaining social distancing from other patients/residents and staff to reduce risks of infection spread. 
  • Babies and children do not routinely visit. Exceptions should be discussed with the nurse in charge.  

Please see arrangements for specific areas 

Adult Wards

Two people only may attend for each visiting time. In the event of overcrowding of multiple occupancy areas, visitors may be asked to rotate.  

Times: 2.30pm – 4.00pm / 7.30pm – 9.00pm 

Maternity Wards 

Please read our Maternity Services Visiting Arrangements

Children’s Wards 

Times: Parents and carers* – any time

 * Those undertaking parenting responsibilities in absence of those with parental responsibility.

Neonatal Unit 

Times: Parents and carers* – any time

* Those undertaking parenting responsibilities in absence of those with parental responsibility.

Intensive Care Units  

Visiting arrangements should be discussed with Nurse-in-Charge. 

Times: 2.30pm – 5.00pm/ 7:00pm – 9:00pm 

Mental Health Inpatient Wards 

Two people only may attend for each visiting time. In the event of overcrowding of multiple occupancy areas, visitors may be asked to rotate. 

Times: 2:00pm – 8:00pm 

Emergency Departments 

Emergency Departments continue to experience severe congestion at times due to the number of patients attending and those awaiting beds in the hospital. We will prioritise the presence of a visitor or carer to accompany those with additional needs, other visitors may be asked to limit time in the department so we can ensure adequate distancing and space to treat patients.

Cancer and Renal Unit

Patients can be accompanied to an appointment. Visiting arrangements as above (adult wards).

Outpatients 

Patients can be accompanied to an appointment if they wish.

Care Home Visiting

From August 2022 and the publication of guidance Visiting with Care – The New Normal , restrictions have been lifted for visiting in care homes.
There may be occasion if the home is in outbreak that time – that limited restrictions will be reintroduced, following a dynamic risk assessment but there will be local communication with residents and their families if this occurs. Care Partners and end of life visiting will be facilitated during an outbreak.
While the restrictions on visiting have now largely been removed, it is essential that families/friends intending to visit should continue to help ensure their loved ones remain safe by:

  • Staying at home, if symptomatic
  • Adhering to good Infection Prevention and Control practice
  • Face coverings – and any other necessary PPE, should be worn as appropriate
  • Engaging with the care home – you are partners in care and should work together for the good of your loved one
  • Respect for other residents and staff in the care home and protecting their health.

It is crucially important, therefore, that visitors make themselves aware of the risks involved in the visiting of their loved one, and work together with the care home and the statutory agencies to ensure that they can safely engage in meaningful visiting while ensuring that the risk to their loved one and others in the care home is minimised as far as possible.

  • We would also ask that you notify the care home if you:
    experience symptoms of COVID-19 including a high  temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to sense of smell and/or taste following a visit to the home
    test positive for COVID 19 following a visit to the home
  •  are notified that you are a ‘close contact’ of anyone suspected of, or confirmed as, having COVID-19 following a visit to the home
  • become generally unwell following a visit to the home

Visiting in Care Settings in Northern Ireland | Department of Health (health-ni.gov.uk)

Virtual Visiting 

The Trust will continue to support virtual visiting and has produced a helpful guide to assist you with virtual visits. 

 

10th July 2023

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