Hospital visiting rules to be relaxed from Monday

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

From Monday 29 June, patients can receive one visitor, for one hour, once a day.

Since March 2020 and the outbreak of COVID-19, hospitals across the UK introduced strict guidelines which forbade patients from receiving visits from friends or family.

Whilst understood as an essential safety precaution by many, the decision was not without criticism.

In an article written for Stat News, Jason Karlawish states:

“My uncle is 83. He lives alone, and he has Alzheimer’s disease. If he’s infected with Covid-19 and requires hospitalisation, he’s in big trouble. Smothering pneumonia can be deadly, but so can be care in the hospital. One problem I can see right away is that his hospital will deny him a critical intervention: me.”

Understanding the need for some form of contact with friends and family, Oxford University Hospitals introduced a letter delivery service for patients which allowed friends and family to stay in touch during the outbreak.

Sam Foster, Chief Nursing Officer at the Trust, said:

“We are incredibly grateful to our patients and their families for being so understanding during this challenging time.  We recognise how extremely difficult the past few months have been for people who couldn’t visit, and we have missed the support they can provide to their loved ones.”

Now, due to the lower rates of infection and risk, patients will be able to receive visitors from Monday, under new, strict guidelines.

A statement received from Oxford University Hospitals today explains that one-hour visitation slots will be booked in advance by staff on the ward.  Staff will be contacting the named next of kin to arrange visitation appointments.

Slots will be available between Monday and Friday, limited to one visitor, for one hour, per patient, once a day.

Importantly, the OUH also explains that not every ward will be permitted to receive visitors.  For example:

  • Women who are in hospital to give birth can have one birth partner only. Other areas in maternity should follow the one hour rule.
  • Children’s Services (patients up to and including 17 years old) – one parent or guardian for as long as required, but no siblings.
  • Patients at the end of their life (arrangements as agreed with the ward manager or nurse).
  • Intensive care units – (arrangements as agreed with the ward manager or nurse)

Visiting is not allowed in the following areas:

  • Outpatient departments
  • Wards where we are treating patients with COVID-19
  • Our Emergency Departments and Emergency Assessment Units.

The hospital asks anyone interested in visiting a patient to visit their website for further guidance including a range of frequently asked questions.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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