Visiting guidance

Visiting is welcomed and encouraged in a very careful and managed way to meet patient need while maintaining a safe environment for all.

Every effort shall be made to facilitate visiting that meets patients’ wishes. This means:

Anyone with symptoms of respiratory infection (COVID, flu) or feeling unwell should not visit

All visitors to inpatient or outpatient areas must wear a face mask (see exemptions below) – we recommend that visitors wear a fluid repellent surgical face mask (FRSM) and these are provided at all main entrances. Visitors may elect to wear their own face covering but are/will be advised that the masks provided by the Trust offer better protection to them and others

As a general principle, the Trust is encouraging visitors to maintain one metre distance between people and also ensure they practice good hand hygiene

Visiting guidance may change depending on local prevalence and infection control guidance/requirements eg. an outbreak in an area

Visiting rules can be flexed on compassionate grounds for example, for carers of adult patients or visiting at end of life (see below). This needs to be agreed with the nurse in charge.

More details below

In a six bedded bay, there must be no more than six visitors at any one time. This is to reduce crowding in the bays where ventilation varies greatly

No patient should have more than two visitors at the same time as this reduces the opportunity of visitors for all other patients

This could mean six patients have one visitor each or three patients have two visitors each or any other combination as long as there are no more than six visitors at a time

The visitors must be agreed by the patient

All visiting must be pre-booked in advance with the ward (see hospital ward information)

Visitors will be triaged and asked to postpone their visit if they have respiratory symptoms. Visitors will be advised if the person they are visiting or those in close proximity have active respiratory virus infections such as COVID or seasonal Influenza

If visiting a patient where the COVID-19 risk is higher, visitors will be required to wear an apron and fluid repellent surgical face mask and to wash their hands. Visitors should consider their own health risks when deciding to visit in such instances

Visiting is between 10am and 7pm and for a maximum of two hours per visit

Patients receiving domiciliary care and who have visitors at the time of healthcare staff attending, are asked to avoid overcrowding by asking their supporter to remain in another room while care is being given unless they are needed for emotional support. Trust staff may provide a fluid repellent surgical face mask to be worn by the patient and or their supporter on a risk assessed basis.

A patient may be accompanied by someone important to them. However, in the case of overcrowding or recommendation by the nurse in charge they may be requested to wait outside.

In the maternity ward one visitor can be accommodated in addition to the birth supporter by appointment to avoid overcrowding

Access to the Maternity department is – 9am to 3pm and 3pm to 9pm

We can currently accommodate two birth supporters on labour ward and one supporter to appointments

Women/pregnant people will continue to be tested for COVID-19 as soon as practical following admission to a maternity setting. Those who are symptomatic of COVID-19 or who have tested positive, should continue to be able to have a supporter present for their maternity attendances

All those attending clinical settings (supporters and parents of babies on neonatal units) must wear a fluid repellent surgical mask

Parents should not attend neonatal units if they are symptomatic of COVID-19

A patient may be accompanied by someone important to them. However, in the case of overcrowding or recommendation by the nurse in charge, they may be requested to wait outside.

Accordion

Daily visits up to one hour are permitted to support patients with specific needs eg with learning difficulties or dementia

When supporting an adult with additional vulnerabilities, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed, visiting is decided on a patient by patient basis

Parents/guardians/siblings must always wear a surgical/face covering when entering and moving around the hospital/healthcare setting and when a healthcare professional is treating their child/young person

If they are in with their child/young person in a side room they can remove their mask

Grandparents/siblings are welcome to visit but this will be agreed with the nurse in charge

Only one parent/carer resident overnight due to space and ability to access emergency equipment by the bed space

One person from the same household or support “bubble” who may be accompanied if assistance is required.

An individualised compassionate visiting plan on a case by case basis is supported for those receiving end of life care and patients prior to mechanical ventilation. This will be balanced between compassionate visiting and managing the risk of infection

Visits will be agreed by the nurse in charge. If the patient is in a bay, then up to two visitors may go in at a time (noting earlier comments about no more than six visitors to avoid over crowding) depending on agreement with the matron and if the patient is in a side room, they may have up to a maximum of four visitors if space allows

Spiritual, emotional, and religious support can be assessed, and where appropriate, provided by the healthcare chaplain or an external faith leader

For those who are mask exempt we ask that you do not automatically visit clinical areas and that you contact us as soon as possible in advance to discuss. Staff will then discuss possible risks and determine if visiting can be safely supported with reasonable adjustments.

Do not visit if you have symptoms of COVID-19

Please do not visit if you have symptoms of COVID-19, if you are self-isolating or if you have been identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19.

Face masks

All patients and visitors must wear a hospital grade face mask (available at main entrances) when in one of our hospitals, clinics or community facilities.

Virtual visiting to keep patients connected

Patients in hospitals in East Sussex can video call their loved ones. Tablets are available for use by patients who don’t have their own device for making and receiving calls and are being used at Conquest Hospital, Eastbourne DGH, Bexhill Hospital, Rye, Winchelsea and District Memorial Hospital and Firwood House. Family members will need to have zoom accounts set up and will need to provide their meeting ID and password to allow a meeting to be arranged. Visits can be arranged by emailing esht.patientmailbox@nhs.net.