New hospital visiting guidelines introduced

VISITING hospital is something we have all done at one time or another, however, visitors can bring in more than good wishes.

The Northern Trust has just announced new guidelines for visitors which highlight the responsibilities of visitors coming into hospital in support of staff caring for their relatives and loved ones.

Chief Executive, Norma Evans explained the thinking behind the visiting policy.

“In recent years there has been a tendency for hospitals to take a very relaxed approach to visiting. However, in the light of issues such as the spread of infection in hospital and the move towards shorter hospital stays for patients, we are moving to a hospital visiting policy that is better for individual patients and supports staff to provide the best possible level of care for our patients.

“We have reviewed visiting times to ensure, as far as possible, consistency across sites, and to ensure that time spent in hospital is dedicated to treatment and recovery. Leaflets will be issued to all visitors and also to new patients as part of their hospital admission information.

There will be restrictions on children, particularly babies, and visitors will be asked to limit themselves to no more than two to each patient.

The Trust has also asked that visitors do not bring perishable food or flowers into hospital. These can clutter patient areas, preventing thorough cleaning and can in themselves harbour infection.

The Chief Executive emphasised the need for the changes. “I would appeal to members of the public coming into hospital as visitors to support hospital staff and help make our hospitals safer, more comfortable places for our friends and relatives.”

The newly revised visiting times at Causeway Hospital are:

Adult Wards

2.30pm - 4.00pm

7.30pm - 9.00pm

Children’s Ward

Parents and carers - any time

Other visitors - 8.00am - 8.00pm

Maternity Ward

10.30am - 11.30am (partners only)

3.00pm - 4.30pm

6.30pm - 8.30pm

Intensive Care Unit

From 11.00am daily and at discretion of ICU staff.

Immediate family only.

A guide to visiting

You can help by following a few simple guidelines when visiting the ward.

• Wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser/gel provided before and after visiting.

• Limit visit to two people for each patient at any one time.

• Keep to the allocated visiting times.

• No children under 13 can visit unless accompanied by an adult.

• It’s recommend that babies and young children should not visit.

• Please do not sit on the bed or touch your relative’s wounds, drips

or drains.

• Perishable food (including sandwiches/fruit) should not be brought into the hospital for patient consumption.

• Cameras on mobile phones, cameras and camcorders are not to be used by visitors within the ward area without seeking permission from ward staff.

• Flowers should not be brought into the hospital.

Please do not visit the ward if you have:

• Vomiting and/or diarrhoea

• Coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms

• Any infectious condition eg chickenpox, mumps etc