How changes to patient visiting at Lincolnshire hospitals affect you

A new risk-based approach is being introduced at Lincolnshire hospitals to maximise visiting opportunities whilst keeping staff and patients safe.

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.

From this Thursday, September 9, visitors onto ward areas will be taken in all United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) hospitals - including Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Pilgrim Hospital and Grantham and District Hospital.

All hospital inpatient areas are currently given a classification of low, medium and high risk, reflecting patient conditions and infection prevention and control measures.

For each level, different visiting arrangements will be in place from this week. This will be determined at individual patient level, depending upon their risk rating and the risk level of the areas they are residing in.

Director of Nursing at ULHT, Dr Karen Dunderdale, said: “We are aware that changes in COVID case numbers in our area have resulted in relatively regular changes to our visiting policies over the last 18 months.

“As we move forward, we wanted to have a process in place that is clear for everyone, and is able to ‘flex’ depending upon the patient and ward area, rather than keep changing our visiting policy.

“This approach means that we will be able to maintain a consistent approach to visiting over the coming months, as areas, and individual patients, can move between risk ratings.

“We feel this will be the best approach to ensure we maximise visiting opportunities for those who are being cared for in low risk areas, whilst ensuring we keep our patients, staff and visitors safe.”

Full details of the visiting arrangements by level can be found in this graphic:

There may be local rules in place in individual areas, depending upon the environment, and patients and visitors are asked to speak to the ward directly for information.

Exceptions remain in place for maternity, paediatrics and neonatal services, as detailed below:

Maternity:

• The maternity department will allow one birthing partner to attend the birth and a partner to visit women and their baby either antenatal or postnatal

• Visiting hours on maternity wards is 1pm-7pm

• Children are still not able to attend the hospitals to visit patients at this time

• Partners can attend all hospital maternity appointments

• Women and partners are encouraged to perform lateral flow tests prior to appointments.

Paediatrics and neonatal services:

• Parents who do not show the symptoms of infection can visit their children on children’s wards and neonatal units

• Parents with a baby in neonatal care have access 24 hours a day. This includes overnight stays where accommodation allows

• Any exceptions will be made on a case by case basis.

Compassionate grounds:

• Visiting end of life patients

• Other exceptional circumstances (for e.g. dementia, learning disabilities, autism, and mental health).