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Visiting arrangements

UPDATED: Monday 21 January 2022

Due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases we have made the extremely difficult decision to temporarily suspend visiting to adult inpatient wards within County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, effective immediately.

Restricting visiting is not an easy decision, but we need to act to help protect our patients and our workforce.

We very much recognise the many benefits visitors can bring to a patient's care and wellbeing; but we must also maintain our duty of care to protect our own people and all patients by minimising the risk of the spread of infection. We know this is very difficult for loved ones. We have iPads available on our wards so patients can be visited virtually and messages and photographs can also be shared through our popular 'Stay in Touch' scheme.

We do have some exceptions to visiting restrictions in place which are listed below:

  • Patients receiving end of life care
  • Women having antenatal scans will be able to be accompanied by their chosen support person
  • Women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner
  • A daily postnatal visit by chosen support person
  • One parent or carer will be able to accompany children in our emergency departments, children's wards and neonatal units
  • Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and those who require a carer
  • Where visiting will support discharge or the mental wellbeing of a patient this may also be arranged at the discretion of the ward manager/nurse in charge

Visitors:

  • are encouraged to be double-vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the visit and where possible have also had their COVID-19 booster vaccine
  • will be required to produce evidence of a negative lateral flow test undertaken on the same day, prior to the visit, such as a dated photograph of the test strip or screenshot from the NHS app. This includes resident parents who will have to undertake a lateral flow test every day
  • Visits can only take place by appointment with the Ward clerk and will be limited to one hour per patient per day.

 

We will continue to monitor and consider this position to look at the possible, safe reintroduction of visiting and how this would be managed. Current restrictions will remain in place while community prevalence, hospital admissions and outbreaks remain high. Please be kind to our colleagues when they are making arrangements with you, they are following our guidelines to help protect all patients.

 

 

UPDATED: Wednesday 3 November 2021

We would like to thank our local communities for their support over the past 18 months and once again ask for your support.

We have listened to feedback from loved ones and in response we will be re-introducing visiting from Wednesday 3rd November.

We know that having loved ones visit brings many positive benefits to a patient's recovery and well-being however we need your help to be able to do this safely.

So, to help us protect our workforce and all patients:

  • We are asking that each patient only has one named visitor and that they visit for one hour a day
  • Visitors should wear hospital supplied masks and follow all IPC guidance including minimising as far as possible close physical contact with loved ones
  • Visitors are encouraged to be double-vaccinated and to have a negative lateral flow test before coming in to one of our hospitals
  • Visitors need to book an appointment with the ward clerk of the ward where the loved one is being cared for

There are some wards and departments where visiting is still restricted to maintain safety and protection of patients, these include:

  • ITU
  • Emergency Departments
  • Acute Medical Units - ward 4 at Durham and ward 34 at Darlington
  • Dedicated covid wards (ward 6 at Durham)
  • Elective surgery wards - ward 15 at Durham and wards 11, 14 at Darlington and ward 18 at Bishop Auckland
In the event of a covid outbreak in a ward or department, visiting would then be fully restricted while we manage that outbreak.
Please be kind to our colleagues when they are making arrangements with you. They are following our guidelines to help protect all patients.

 

UPDATED: Tuesday 6 July 2021

Visiting restrictions across our adult inpatient wards have been reintroduced. County Durham now has one of the highest community rates of COVID-19. Restricting visiting is not an easy decision, but we need to act to help protect our patients and our workforce.

We very much recognise the many benefits visitors can bring to a patient's care and wellbeing but we must also maintain our duty of care to protect our own people and all patients by minimising the risk of the spread of infection. Weekly consideration is being given to this position to look at possible, safe re-introduction and how this would be managed. Current restrictions will remain in place while community prevalence, hospital admissions & outbreaks remain high.

We know this is very difficult for loved ones. We do have some exceptions in place which are listed below. If you have any concerns then please discuss them with the ward manager.

We have ipads available on our wards so you can visit virtually with loved ones and you can also send messages and photographs through our 'Stay in Touch' scheme.

Exceptions to visiting restrictions:

  • Patients receiving end of life care
  • Women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner
  • One parent or carer will be able to accompany children in our emergency departments, children's wards and neonatal units
  • Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and those who require a carer
  • Where visiting will support discharge or the mental wellbeing of a patient this can also be arranged at the discretion of the ward manager/nurse in charge


Reviewed: Monday 20 September, 2021

 

Published: May 2021

As tentative steps out of lockdown continue, we are easing some of the visitor restrictions introduced last year to help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Introducing restrictions on our patients receiving visitors  was a very difficult decision, made in response to both very worrying Covid infection rates locally, and national guidance.  We know this hasn't been easy for patients and their loved ones, so we're absolutely delighted that, from today, we're able to begin lifting restrictions.  Of course, we all know how quickly infection rates can change so we'll keep a close eye on these to keep patients, our staff - and the wider community - as safe as possible.

From Monday 17 May, and in line with step three of the national lockdown easing, patients will be able to have one visitor per day, for up to an hour.

This will also apply to young patients on our children's wards, in addition to the resident parent or carer already permitted.

Keeping the numbers of people coming into our buildings to a minimum is still important so, for example, it won't be possible for two family members to each visit for 30 minutes.

Visits will also need to be booked in advance with the ward team.

Our maternity, post-natal and neonatal teams are also relaxing some restrictions - we ask people to contact their midwife or ask ward staff for details. CLICK HERE for more information.

Emergency Departments and Urgent Treatment Centres: Currently patients need to attend alone.  Due to the increasing demand on these departments, this restriction will remain in place until there is no longer a requirement to socially distance, other than for patients who meet the agreed national recommendations exceptions.
Exceptions are in place for patients with:
  • Learning disabilities
  • Dementia
  • Patients where their condition is such that the doctor has made a decision to commence the end of life pathway.
  • Children (who can be accompanied by one parent)
  • Patients assessed on attendance as needing increased support from a relative or friend due to mental health issues in crisis.
Outpatients appointments: patients attending for outpatient appointments should continue attending alone.  Exceptions are patients with dementia, a learning disability, autism or difficulty communicating.  Exception can also continue to be made where the appointment will involve breaking bad news - at the discretion of medical and nursing staff.
We're incredibly grateful for the continued support, patience and understanding from our local communities as we take these cautious steps forward.

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital