Visiting restrictions in Lincolnshire’s hospitals have started to be lifted.
Visiting will be possible on hospital wards at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, by booking a visiting slot in advance, and will allow one visitor per patient per day, and one visitor will be allowed per ward bay at any one time, regardless of the bay size.
At Grantham and District Hospital, the surgical wards remain part of a low risk area of the site with very restricted staff and public access until the end of June. Visiting for individual cases is considered and can be organised at pre-assessment, subject to the same swabbing and screening arrangements as for patients.
People are still no longer allowed to visit unless they wear a mask, to protect patients and staff from the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Any exceptions to these requirements will be made at the discretion of the clinical team.
We are also strongly advising the people undertake a free, home lateral flow test before booking a visit. These are available to order from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests If the test is positive you must not visit.
Director of Nursing Dr Karen Dunderdale said: “We are so pleased to welcome visitors back onto our wards, as we recognise the importance of our patients being able to see their loved ones during their stay in hospital.
As we shift to COVID-19 being an infection that is endemic in our society it is clear that a number of precautions will be with us for some time. Our updated guidance is based on national guidance and the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and staff remain our absolute priority.
Risks associated with visiting all relate to potential cross infection between visitors, patients and staff. We have developed clear guidance on how to safely manage visiting in line with new high, medium and low risk categories.
“We do still need to limit the number of visitors on each ward at any one time, and ensure that anyone entering our hospitals wears a mask.
“We know that this may be difficult for some people who cannot wear masks and have a loved one in hospital, and we would encourage them to work with the wards to identify other ways to keep in touch, such as by video call or, where possible, meeting up outside.”
Visiting continues to be suspended for high risk areas other than with some agreed exceptions including end of life care, dementia or significant cognitive impairment, learning disability or autism and situations where the visit will be classed as a therapeutic intervention to manage distress. These exceptions will be at the discretion of the ward and require an individual risk assessment.
Arrangements around maternity can be found on the maternity website pages.
All visitors should adhere to the following advice:
- All visitors must book an appointment no more than 48 hours in advance by contacting the ward where their loved one is staying between 8am and 2pm. Contact numbers for each ward can be found on the Trust’s website.
- There will be a maximum of one visitor per patient per day.
- Bookings will not be transferable in the event a patient moves wards, and cannot be split or shared.
- Defined visiting slots are set to reduce footfall and congestion.
- Social distancing must be maintained and masks must be worn as directed.
- People must not visit if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new persistent cough, loss of taste or smell).
- Anyone with concerns or queries about visiting should speak to the ward, or the Patient Advice and Liaison teams at Pilgrim: 01205 446244 and Lincoln: 01522 707071.
- Visitors should read the visiting during COVID-19 information leaflet information which explains all of the arrangements and precautions.
In addition, the Trust is reminding visitors about limits to what they can bring in for patients, to ensure that the number of items are limited for safe storage and to reduce infection prevention risk.
As we shift to COVID-19 being an infection that is endemic in our society it is clear that a number of precautions will be with us for some time. This updated procedure is based on national guidance and the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and staff remain our absolute priority. Risks associated with visiting all relate to potential cross infection between visitors, patients and staff. The purpose of the following requirements is to lessen these risks. We have implemented High, Medium and Low risk clinical areas; other than in exceptional circumstances visiting will be suspended in High risk areas and controlled as described below in Medium and Low risk areas.
Appointment system and making a booking
Because many of our wards have rooms with multiple beds we have considered how we can safely maintain social distancing and have implemented an appointment system to control the number of people visiting at any one time.
- BEFORE booking a visit you are asked to please undertake a free home Lateral Flow Test prior to visiting. These are available to order from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests If the test is positive you MUST NOT visit.
- If you or anyone in your household have any symptoms of potential COVID-19 infection (temperature, new persistent cough, loss of taste or smell) you MUST NOT visit.
- Visits are managed on an appointment basis at the times shown and cannot be booked more than 48 hours in advance.
- Please call the ward between 08:00 and 14:00 to make an appointment. Phone numbers are available on our website.
- Bookings are not transferrable in the event a patient moves wards.
- Visits are for ONE hour and only ONE visitor is permitted per patient per day, this is to share visits fairly.
- Visit appointments cannot be shared between people.
Coming to the ward
- You will have to wear a mask throughout your visit. If you are exempt from wearing a mask we are very sorry but we will not be able to support your visit; this is to ensure we can keep our patients and staff safe. We can, however arrange a video call for you.
- You should aim to arrive at the ward not more than 5 minutes before your allotted visit time.
- On entering the hospital you must follow social distancing rules and wash or sanitise your hands before entering and on leaving the ward.
- You will be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as directed by the staff. This will include a surgical mask, gloves and apron. Gowns will be provided where there is a risk of spray or splash.
- Please be reassured that as long as PPE has been worn correctly and precautions followed you will not need to self isolate afterwards as a result of the visit; if however you have a breach of PPE (e.g. removal or tear) then you should consider yourself having possible contact and report this through NHS Track and Trace. You will be asked to provide your name and contact details.
- You should avoid touching surfaces or equipment and in the event that you need to speak with ward staff or leave the bedside for any reason you must use the call bell and wait for it to be answered rather than go to find someone.
Personal items/patient property
- You may bring in personal items for the person you are visiting but these must be in line with the property guidance as shown overleaf and be brought in a clear plastic bag, labelled and listed.
- The amount of clothing and personal items brought in needs to be such that it can all be safely stored in a standard bedside locker to minimise clutter and the risk of loss.
- These restrictions have been set to minimise the build up of items at the bedside and to manage contamination risk. If you take items home please keep them sealed for 72 hours in line with national guidance.
- The Trust cannot take responsibility for valuable items that are kept at the bedside and not handed in for safekeeping. Patients are encouraged to send any valuable or unnecessary items home.
We appreciate that these precautions may feel unduly restrictive however we are sure you appreciate that they have been developed to keep you, our patients and our staff safe and to minimise the risk of infection.
Personal items and clothing such as shown below can be brought in on visits but it must be such that it can be safely stored within a bedside locker (to prevent clutter and loss) and within a small holdall / bag. Items can be brought in for patients in High Risk areas where visiting is suspended but they must be placed in a clear plastic bag and all contents listed.
Our wards are able to offer the opportunity for video calls via FaceTime or Skype, please contact the ward if you would like to do this.
You can also take advantage of our ‘Letters to a Loved One’ scheme where a letter from you can be printed, taken to a patient and read out to them if needed.
Guidance for carers and companions
Whilst COVID-19 restrictions are easing nationally our organisation continues to ask patients to come alone when they attend our hospitals primarily due to challenges with social distancing. However we recognise that there will be occasions when carers or a companion is necessary. As an organisation we are committed to ensuring our patients and staff are safe but we must also balance this with the need for support where necessary. It can be difficult to contest a person’s assertions that they need to accompany a patient and to do so fairly and consistently. This guidance has been developed to help this process using different scenarios to steer thinking.
A parent or carer can accompany children up to age 18. For any adolescent aged 18 and above the below guidance will apply. In all situations the final decision will rest with the clinic/department lead/coordinator and only one person will be permitted. This guidance is applicable in all settings such as outpatients, cardiology, diagnostics and emergency departments.