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Accompanying patients to scheduled healthcare appointments

It may be necessary for visitors to accompany patients/service users to scheduled appointments in a healthcare setting. This may be in the following situations, which are by no means exhaustive:

  • individuals with a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being accompanied would cause the patient/service user to be distressed. Where possible, visits for such service users should be considered on an individual basis in light of the patient’s/service user’s needs, care plan and in consultation with their support staff or carer
  • individuals with cognitive impairment who may be unable to recall health advice provided
  • where the treatment/procedure is likely to cause the patient distress and the visitor can provide support

Appointment letters and websites should provide advice and contact details for visitors to request approval to accompany patients (where appropriate). The letters may include advice on:

  • the need to adhere to social/physical distancing as well as hand hygiene and infection control precautions on arriving and leaving the appointment
  • visitors who have received a shielding letter from the Chief Medical Officer for Wales should not accompany patients unless essential.  They will need to wear a medical mask as set out in the 14 June Chief Medical Officer’s advice on face masks 
  • visitors who are not shielding may choose to wear a face covering, particularly if they are in a vulnerable group

All requests to accompany patients need to be risk assessed and Annex 1 provides a checklist of questions to aid decision-making for visits.  Guidance on accompanying pregnant women to pre-planned antenatal appointments is provided at Annex 2.

Further information can be found on the Welsh Government website