Rise in Covid cases in Lincolnshire prompts tighter visiting restrictions at hospitals

Lincolnshire hospital bosses are once again tightening up on visiting restrictions in a move to protect patients and staff from a recent rise in Covid-19 cases in the population.

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has imposed tighter visiting restrictions on all its sites.
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust has imposed tighter visiting restrictions on all its sites.

Officials say they have taken the difficult decision that patient visiting will once again be restricted in all United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust hospitals from tomorrow (Wednesday March 30).

These changes mean that general visiting will be restricted, but current arrangements will be fully supported for maternity, paediatrics, neonates and in some other instances.

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Trust bosses say these changes will help to restrict footfall within hospitals and wards, which will take steps to prevent and reduce the risk that Covid-19 continues to present to vulnerable patients. The changes will be reviewed on a regular basis.

On compassionate grounds, visits will be supported for those who have loved ones who are towards the end of life, for patients with dementia or with specific special needs, and where visits and support may significantly benefit patient recovery. Highly unusual circumstances will also be considered.

Director of Nursing, Dr Karen Dunderdale, said: “Restricting visiting is one of the measures we are taking to protect our patients and staff as we need to manage the threat level from the high number of cases in our community.

“We know that this decision will be upsetting for those who have loved ones in hospital, but we must prioritise the safety of our patients and staff at this time, and do not take these decisions lightly.

“Please be kind and understanding with our teams who are going above and beyond to care for their patients.

“We have put in place some exceptions and our ward teams will work with families and carers to ensure access is available in the right circumstances.

“Wards will be offering the opportunity for families to talk to relatives via Skype or FaceTime where possible. Loved ones can also take advantage of our ‘Letter to a Loved One’ scheme; full details are available on our website.

“Please bear with us whilst we continue to ensure the safety of our patients as well as our staff.”

Visiting exceptions:

Compassionate grounds - Visiting patients who are towards the end of life; or other exceptional circumstances for those who act as a carer and can support a patient’s recovery (e.g. dementia, learning disabilities, autism, mental health).

Maternity:

The maternity department can support 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 are 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.