To link in with the Government’s cautious road map out of COVID-19, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is bringing back its successful visiting scheme – to enable patients to see friends and family whilst they are in hospital.

Designated visiting on some adult general medical and surgical wards re-starts today (Monday, April 12 2021) – at the same time that hairdressers, gyms, non-essential retail shops and pubs re-open (outside service only) to the public.  Coinciding with fewer COVID-19 cases in the hospital, which are now into single figures, the move is in line with national recommendations.

“Right time to make a change…”

Commenting on the decision, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer at the Royal, Berenice Groves said; “Designated visiting ran successfully throughout August to October last year – before COVID-19 cases started increasing rapidly and the extended lockdown began.  We’ve seen numbers drop significantly in the last few weeks, so it feels like the right time to make a change.  We’re really pleased to offer designated visiting again, albeit with strict measures in place to protect our patients, staff and relatives.  We know how important connecting with family is when you’re in hospital and this will certainly aid wellbeing.

The designated scheme allows patients to have a named visitor (per week) at their bedside for one hour a day, at a certain time slot.  Posters above each bed show what time-slot it has been given.  It’s a really sensible way to allow loved-ones to spend time together, whilst keeping footfall in the hospital down – to maintain social distancing and reduce the risk of infection spread.  

Whilst some areas of the hospital will still remain ‘visitor-free’ to safeguard patients waiting for or recovering from surgery (see notes to news editors) the majority of adult ward areas will open their doors again.  Maternity, neo-natal, critical care and children’s services will continue to have their own visiting arrangements in place and as always ‘compassionate visiting’ still applies.  This enables vulnerable adults and those on end of life care to benefit from other visiting arrangements - which family members agree with the ward team caring for their relative.

Follow the safety measures

Anyone visiting will be expected to follow infection prevention measures, including social distancing, washing hands, using sanitiser and wearing a surgical mask throughout the duration of their visit.

Krishna Kallianpur, Chief Nurse said: “We’ve tried really hard to keep families and friends in touch throughout the pandemic, including free Wi-Fi on the wards to stay in touch virtually, our #LettersOfLove initiative and our staff have come up with lots of innovative ways to pass on messages and keep those bridges open. It is always second best to seeing someone in person though, so we are sure this announcement will be welcomed.”

The Royal continues to urge people to support the bid to ‘beat COVID-19’ – stressing that it is still a real issue we all need to work together to address – by having the vaccine, taking lateral flow tests when offered and by following all the guidelines the roadmap highlights when meeting up with others.