Bosses allowing visitors back into Lincolnshire hospitals

Visiting restrictions in Lincolnshire’s hospitals will begin to be lifted from next week, say health bosses.

Boston's Pilgrim Hospital EMN-201014-181209001

From Monday (May 3), visiting will be possible on hospital wards at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, by booking a visiting slot in advance,.

Patients will be allowed one visitor per day, and one visitor will be allowed per ward bay at any one time, regardless of the bay size.

At Grantham and District Hospital, the surgical wards remain part of a low risk area of the site with very restricted staff and public access until the end of June.

Director of Nursing Dr Karen Dunderdale said: “We are so pleased to welcome visitors back onto our wards, as we recognise the importance of our patients being able to see their loved ones during their stay in hospital.

“As we shift to COVID-19 being an infection that is endemic in our society it is clear that a number of precautions will be with us for some time. Our updated guidance is based on national guidance and the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and staff remain our absolute priority.”

Visiting for individual cases is considered and can be organised at pre-assessment, subject to the same swabbing and screening arrangements as for patients.

United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust says people are still not allowed to visit unless they wear a mask, to protect patients and staff from the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Any exceptions to these requirements will be made at the discretion of the clinical team.

The hospitals are also strongly advising the people take a free, home lateral flow test before booking a visit. These are available to order from https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests If the test is positive you must not visit.

Dr Dunderdale said: “Risks associated with visiting all relate to potential cross infection between visitors, patients and staff.

“We have developed clear guidance on how to safely manage visiting in line with new high, medium and low risk categories.

“We do still need to limit the number of visitors on each ward at any one time, and ensure that anyone entering our hospitals wears a mask.

“We know that this may be difficult for some people who cannot wear masks and have a loved one in hospital, and we would encourage them to work with the wards to identify other ways to keep in touch, such as by video call or, where possible, meeting up outside.”

Visiting continues to be suspended for high risk areas other than with some agreed exceptions including end of life care, dementia or significant cognitive impairment, learning disability or autism and situations where the visit will be classed as a therapeutic intervention to manage distress. These exceptions will be at the discretion of the ward and require an individual risk assessment.

Arrangements around maternity can be found on the maternity website pages here.

All visitors should stick to the following advice:

○ All visitors must book an appointment no more than 48 hours in advance by contacting the ward where their loved one is staying between 8am and 2pm. Contact numbers for each ward can be found on the Trust’s website.

○ There will be a maximum of one visitor per patient per day.

○ Bookings will not be transferable in the event a patient moves wards, and cannot be split or shared.

○ Defined visiting slots are set to reduce footfall and congestion

○ Social distancing must be maintained and masks must be worn as directed.

○ People must not visit if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new persistent cough, loss of taste or smell).

○ Anyone with concerns or queries about visiting should speak to the ward, or the Patient Advice and Liaison teams at Pilgrim: 01205 446244 and Lincoln: 01522 707071.

In addition, the Trust is reminding visitors about limits to what they can bring in for patients, to ensure that the number of items are limited for safe storage and to reduce infection risk.

You can find the full guidance around visiting and belongings here: https://www.ulh.nhs.uk/news/relaxing-of-visiting-restrictions-in-lincolnshire-hospitals/