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Changes to Hospital/Ward Visiting (July 2021)

12th July 2021

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board fully recognises 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 14 days.
    • There is no history of recent travel abroad (within the last 10 days) from a red or amber listed country. 
    • Been in contact with someone who has travelled abroad whereby they should be in isolation for 10/14 days dependant on ‘red list’ or ‘Amber’ list country.
  • 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.