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Hospital Visiting Guidelines


Friday 17th September 2021

Welsh Government continues to report Alert Level 0 for the general population. However, in line with national guidance, COVID measures remain in place on healthcare premises in order to protect extremely vulnerable patients. This includes social distancing and the use of facemasks.

We understand the importance and benefits that visiting patients in hospital has for families, patients and also to our staff. We greatly wish to be able to continue to support visiting but can only do so by having strict procedures in place and limiting visitor numbers.  We ask communities to work with us in these difficult times, so we can continue to support a level of safe visiting and hopefully avoid the need to restrict visiting further.  

Visiting is by pre-appointment only and visitors for patients with dementia, learning disabilities and those at end of life will be prioritised. Visits may be extended to those patients who do not fall under the above categories but will be for direct family members or “special others” only. Visiting by pre-appointment ensures that strict precautions are taken that enables us to maintain social distancing measures. To avoid disappointment please do not attend any of the hospital sites without a pre-arranged appointment.

We have Lateral Flow Testing for all visitors to ensure patients, staff and the public are as safe as possible.

We must be very mindful that many patients in our hospitals are far more susceptible to pick up infections and therefore we must take all precautions to ensure their safety. We will continue to constantly review these arrangements.  There is a need to be very aware of community transmission rates and changes to Welsh Governments Alert levels which may affect visiting at short notice.

Additionally, we are be able to facilitate a ‘virtual visit’ via our hospital electronic devices which can be organised by the Ward Manager or Nurse in Charge.

Maternity Visiting

Maternity visiting has seen no recent changes.

Partners are welcome to attend your hospital based antenatal clinic appointments and pregnancy scans. However, they must provide evidence of a negative Lateral Flow or PCR test. These guidelines are already in place and have been for a while but there has been confusion with some partners arriving to appointments without doing a test.

It is optional for pregnant women/birthing people attending appointments, although we encourage regular Lateral Flow testing.

As you approach the birth, we encourage partners to test every few days as although we can provide testing on site, it will save you additional waiting during labour.


Tuesday 17th August 2021

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board fully recognises that visitors are essential to the wellbeing of patients and we have been committed to finding ways to ease visiting restrictions in the safest way possible. Visiting guidelines have again been reviewed in line with Welsh Government Guidelines published July 5th 2021. Visiting will continue to be under constant review in line with Welsh Government guidance and our local situation with regards to Covid transmission.

We understand how difficult the visiting restrictions have been but we are grateful for the support of our communities enabling us to minimise the impact of the virus. It is essential we prevent the spread of the virus within our hospitals, keeping patients, families and staff safe.

Most importantly consideration needs to be given to visiting with a clear purpose and that any visit is in the best interests of the patient. These discussions will take place with the patient, or carer, on admission to hospital. We are be able to facilitate a ‘virtual visit’ via our hospital electronic devices which can be organised by the Ward Manager or Nurse in Charge.

It must be acknowledged that community transmission can change rapidly and the correlation between community and hospital transmission is well recognised, in which case restricted visiting would need to be re-instigated.

This guidance is for ward visiting ONLY. Specialist areas have their own visiting guidance. Areas excluded from this guidance are:

  • Critical Care
  • Emergency Department
  • Emergency Assessment Areas
  • Paediatrics
  • Maternity

Visiting Guidance in Green Zones

(green zones are where we have patients categorised as vulnerable or are undergoing elective surgery who will have isolated prior to admission)

Members of the public will not be permitted to visit a Green Zone unless in exceptional circumstances. Other methods of communication can be offered – i.e. virtual visiting and/or messaging services.

Visiting Guidance in Amber Zones

(amber zones are where we have general patients who have been deemed non-Covid)
  • Visiting must be pre-booked in advance to ensure full compliance with social distancing measures and all restrictions are adhered to.
  • Any agreement to visit will be dependent upon a negative Covid-19 lateral flow or PCR test.
  • A positive Covid-19 lateral flow test will mean the visit cannot proceed and you will be required to have a confirmatory PCR test.
  • All face-to-face visits will be allocated at a wards discretion and are subject to approval by the clinician/nurse in charge. It is essential you check and comply with arrangements prior to attending the hospital to avoid any disappointment.
  • Visitors attending the hospital without prior approval will not be permitted to enter the Hospital/ward.
  • In order to prevent the spread of infection in the hospital, visiting will only be permitted following confirmation that any visitor:
    • Does not have symptoms of Covid-19:
      • A new continuous cough?
      • Experiencing a loss of taste and smell?
  • Have fully recovered from Covid-19 and have not knowingly been exposed to someone with Covid-19 in the past 10 days.
  • Visiting will not be permitted for those who have returned from overseas travel in the last 10 days from a non-exempt country and are required to be in quarantine”
  • There will be a maximum limit to the number of visitors allowed to attend the ward at any one time in order to minimise the footfall within the hospital setting and to adhere to social distancing restrictions.
  • To ensure equitable and managed visiting it is highly unlikely you will be allowed to visit every day.
  • When attending the hospital setting you must attend alone unless otherwise agreed.
  • Please arrive on time, do not arrive early.
  • The majority of our hospital sites have a visitors hub. Visitors must go directly to the Visitor Screening Hub and when visiting is finished must leave directly – visitors are not permitted to use any restaurant or other facilities (other than visitor’s WC facilities) within the hospital setting. Visitors will be taught to put on and take off Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
  • For those hospitals that do not have a Visitors Hub, please contact the ward directly, they will be able direct you on the correct process to follow in order to support your visit.
  • Visitors must not enter the ward until they have fully completed Test Trace Protect contact details.
  • Visitors must adhere to social distancing (two meters apart), PPE, hand hygiene and infection control precautions as directed by the ward. A new surgical mask must be donned on arrival to the ward/hospital.
  • It will be the responsibility of the ward staff to ensure visitors fully comply with PPE and visitors will be asked to leave if there is non-compliance.
  • Only one visitor may attend for the duration of the visit – this will be limited to a maximum of one hour in order to facilitate cleaning in between visitors.
  • The wearing of a face mask is required for all those over the age of 11 years unless there is a health-related reason for not wearing one (evidence of mask exemption will be required).
  • For those visitors who are exempt from wearing masks – visiting should be undertaken in a single room with an expectation that the patient will wear a mask.
  • Children under the age of 11 will not be allowed to visit unless the circumstances are exceptional.
  • When possible, visiting will be permitted outside of the hospital. The ward will advise if this is possible.

Visiting Guidance in Red Zone Areas

(red zones are where we have patients with Covid or another infection &/or where there is an infection outbreak)

Guidance remains unchanged – previous restrictions remain in place.

All precautions described in amber visiting restrictions must be adhered to.

In addition:

  • Visitors must be aware of the risks of COVID transmission and advised of infection control measures in place including the use of any PPE required during their visit.
  • The pandemic has recognised that visitors from the same household are often symptomatic too. In end of life situations the Infection Prevention & Control (IP&C) team can advise on how such individuals can safely visit a patient who is in their end stage of life.
  • Patients who are in the end phase of life who are diagnosed with Covid may receive visitors during their last hours of life, if permission is sought in advance from the Ward Sister or Nurse in Charge. This may be up to two visitors, one at the bedside at a time, for a specified amount of time, preferably from the same household or part of an extended household*.
  • Visitors with underlying health conditions, or who were previously shielding, should be advised of the significant risks to themselves to visiting.

*Extended households are where two separate households have joined together and have the same freedoms as people living in individual households such as meeting indoors and close physical contact.


Friday 6th August 2021

It is pleasing to note Welsh Government Alert levels have reduced to 0 for the general population, but in line with national guidance, COVID measures remain in place on healthcare premises in order to protect extremely vulnerable patients. This includes social distancing and the use of facemasks.

However, the successful vaccination programme has resulted in some relaxation of visiting restrictions and we continue to accept a small number of designated visitors onto our hospital sites. 

We understand the importance and benefits that visiting patients in hospital has for families, patients and also to our staff. We are pleased to be in position to be able to undertake this and by limiting visitor numbers and having strict procedures in place, we are slowly and safely able to re-introduce visiting.  

Visiting is by pre-appointment only and visitors of patients with dementia, learning disabilities and those at end of life will be prioritised. Visits are extended to those patients who do not fall under the above categories but will be for direct family members or “special others” onlyThese discussions will take place with the patient, or carer, on admission to hospital

We have introduced Lateral Flow Tests for all visitors to ensure we keep patients, staff and the public as safe as possible. Visiting is by pre-appointment only to ensure strict precautions are taken and enables us to maintain social distancing measures. To avoid disappointment, please do not attend any of the hospital sites without a pre-arranged appointment.

We must be very mindful that many of our patients in our hospitals are far more susceptible to pick up infections and therefore we must take all precautions to ensure their safety. We will continue to constantly review these arrangements , there is a need to be very mindful of community transmission rates and changes to Welsh Governments Alert levels which may affect visiting at short notice.

Lastly, for those who are unable to visit we are be able to facilitate a ‘virtual visit’ via our hospital electronic devices which can be organised by the Ward Manager or Nurse in Charge.


Friday 11th June 2021

 

We have carefully considered our approach to Hospital Visiting and following a pilot in Nevill Hall Hospital, we have now extended visiting to more hospitals including The Grange University Hospital, Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan, The Royal Gwent Hospital and Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr, together with continued visiting at Nevill Hall Hospital.

Later this week we will be introducing visiting to St Woolos Hospital, with County Hospital and St Cadocs Hospital coming on board next week. Visiting is by appointment only, between the hours of 11.30 and 6.30pm for a maximum of an hour at a time, and COVID-19 tests are required (with some limited exceptions). Only a small number of people can visit a ward at a given time to ensure compliance with social distancing and cleaning post-visit.


Tuesday 25th May 2021

It is encouraging to see the COVID alert level reducing in Wales, so much so, we can look to adjust hospital visiting restrictions. We know how important visiting is for the well-being of patients and families,  nevertheless our primary focus is to maintain patient, staff and public safety which means that visiting needs to be managed very carefully. We are mindful that the Welsh population is not yet fully vaccinated and the Indian Variant is circulating in small numbers across Wales and within our Health Board area.

We have carefully considered our approach to Hospital Visiting and over the past week have been testing a process  for ward visiting in Nevill Hall Hospital, which has been positive. We are pleased to announce that following the pilot in Nevill Hall we are now ready to extend ward visiting to a few more hospitals to include the Grange University Hospital and Ysbyty Aneurin Bevan in Ebbw Vale, together with continued visiting at Nevill Hall Hospital. Our aim is to widen further to other hospitals during next week, after the Bank Holiday weekend.

Visiting is by appointment only, between the hours of 11.30 and 6.30 pm for a maximum of an hour at a time, and COVID-19 tests are required (with some limited exceptions). If you have a relative who is an inpatient in one of the above three hospitals that are accepting visitors, our staff will be in contact with you over the forthcoming week to arrange a visit and organise testing for you. Please do not ring the wards about visiting. We will contact you based on a discussion and agreement with the patient, where possible. Only a small number of people can visit a ward at a given time to ensure compliance with social distancing and cleaning post-visit. Designated visitors per patient, therefore, will not be able to visit every day.

To avoid disappointment please do not just turn up at one of our hospitals without an appointment as you will not be allowed entry for ward visiting.

We are taking a cautious approach to ensure safety, minimise footfall in the hospitals and to avoid the potential spread of Covid and would be grateful for your ongoing patience and support.


Thursday 12th November 2020

As a Health Board we fully appreciate this is an incredibly challenging time for many families who have loved ones in hospital.  This has been made more difficult by the introduction of a national ‘Restricted Visiting’ policy.  With ongoing restrictions and an increase in the community prevalence and transmission of Covid-19 and infectious incidents within our hospitals, it has been essential for us to revise visiting arrangements and measures to protect patients, families, staff and the public by reducing the foot fall in our hospitals and minimising risks of cross-contamination.

Our visiting guidance is under constant review locally and nationally.

Virtual visiting, through tablet/video call, should be encouraged where this is feasible and pragmatic. In addition, there is a ‘Messages from Home’ service, which should be promoted.

Where visiting is enabled and agreed the person entering the hospital and visiting must be free of symptoms of Covid-19 and not knowingly have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed positive Covid-19 case.


Non-Covid Wards / Areas

Visiting will be permitted for:

  • Women in active labour and birth (a birthing partner).
  • Where there is a dating, anomaly scan in pregnancy or fetal medicine appointment – the partner may attend for that scan.
  • A nominated parent or guardian for a child in hospital and for neonates.
  • Instances where a patient may have special needs, dementia or substantial cognitive impairment, have an extended length of hospital stay (e.g. rehabilitation) or where the benefits of a visit are likely to outweigh the potential harm.  This will be at the discretion of the Ward Manager and may be in liaison with a specialist service. Visiting options will be agreed in advance and documented in the patients care plan.
  • Patients who are deemed to be in the end phase of life. Permission to visit will be secured in advance, this will be one visitor for a specified amount of time and frequency as agreed by the Ward Manager.

Covid Ward / Outbreak Wards

Visiting will be permitted for:

  • Patients who are deemed to be in the end phase of life. Permission to visit will be secured in advance, this will be one visitor for a specified amount of time and frequency as agreed by the Ward Manager.

As a Health Board we need to carefully balance the risk and spread of infection against the emotional challenge of visiting restrictions.  However we fully recognise for patients who are end of life, contact with a loved one is vitally important. 

A discussion with the Ward Manager will be held to agree a time and duration for a visit.  The named visitor will be provided with personal protective equipment.  The planning for every visit will include Covid-19 screening questions, together with a discussion regarding any individual risk of visiting.


Friday 11th September 2020

'No Visiting' Policy to be Extended to the Whole of the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Area

In order to protect our patients, public and staff, the Health Board has deemed it essential to endorse a ‘No Visiting’ policy, which is currently in place for the Caerphilly County Borough due to the local lockdown. 

However, with positive cases also rising in other areas, this ‘No Visiting’ Policy will now be extended to all our wards and patient areas throughout the Health Board (Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen).  The extending of the ‘No Visiting’ arrangements will come into force from 9:00am on Friday 11th September 2020. 

We fully recognise the importance of contact between patients, their families and carers, but we must take measures to prevent the spread of this infection.

As a Health Board, we fully appreciate this is incredibly difficult, but please be assured these restrictions will be under constant review, the following exceptions will apply:

Visiting should be permitted for:

  • Women in labour (a birthing partner, from their household)
  • A nominated parent or guardian for a child in hospital and for neonates
  • Someone with a mental health issue, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient/service user distress. This will be assessed by the Ward Sister and visiting options secured in advance.
  • Patients at end of life care. Permission to visit will be secured in advance (where possible), this will be one visitor at a time for a specified amount as agreed with the Ward Sister.

Thank you for your co-operation and support during these very difficult times.


Tuesday 28th April 2020

This advice is for wards, in-patient areas and excludes areas where patients are receiving intensive care and treatment.

As a Health Board, we fully appreciate this is an incredibly difficult time for many families who have loved ones in hospital, with the ‘No Visiting’ policy introduced in line with the Government’s partial lockdown. It has been essential for us to put measures in place to protect patients, families, staff and the public by reducing the people traffic in our hospitals and minimising risks of cross-contamination.

These restrictions are under constant review locally and nationally and, with immediate effect, the following exceptions now apply.  Visiting should be permitted for:

  • women in labour (a birthing partner, from their household)
  • a nominated parent or guardian for a child in hospital and for neonates
  • someone with a mental health issue, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient/service user distress. This will be assessed by the Ward Sister and visiting options secured in advance.
  • patients receiving end of life care. Permission to visit will be secured in advance (where possible), this will be one visitor at a time for a specified amount of time as agreed by the Ward Sister.

We recognise that for the above categorised patients, visiting by family is vitally important, and we have tried to carefully balance this with the risk and spread of infection.

In general Wards, our staff will speak with you about arrangements for visiting at this difficult time and aim to fully support you in maintaining contact with your loved one.

Please note, it is not always possible to predict when someone is in the last days/ hours of their life, but we will do our very best to contact you if we feel this is the case for your loved one.

A discussion with the Ward Sister/Charge Nurse will be held to agree a visiting schedule. A named and well visitor (well = not experiencing any symptoms of Covid–19) will be fully supported in the use of Personal Protective Equipment, where required. The named visitor, who is free of signs or symptoms of Covid-19, will have a discussion with the Ward Sister/Charge Nurse and this will include: Covid-19 screening questions and highlighting the advice from Public Health Wales for high risk groups relating to Social Isolation. If the potential visitor indicates that they are both free from Covid-19 signs and symptoms and, are aware and accept the potential risk associated with visiting, then they should be permitted to visit. This conversation should be documented in the patient records.


Wednesday 25th March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement regarding partial lockdown, it is with regret that we will now have to suspend all hospital visiting on all our sites to protect our patients and reduce the spread of infection.

The only exception is a birth partner for maternity, a nominated parent on restricted visiting for child patients/neonates and discretion for patients at End of Life.

We are increasing Administrative Support on the Wards in an attempt to manage anticipated additional telephone calls, but strongly encourage relatives to phone their loved ones directly and use Social Media where possible.

Patients can access free Wi-Fi to support “Virtual Visiting”.

We recognise this decision may cause concern, but it has been made in the interest of patient safety. We value and need your support during this difficult time.