What to expect when visiting a patient

What to expect if you are allowed to visit a patient on a ward

Anyone who is showing symptoms of coronavirus (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of taste or smell) should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.

Before you arrive

The visit will need to be arranged in advance and you will be given instructions on where to go and who to ask for on your arrival. 

You must wear a facemask.

It is a good idea to write down any questions you have before arriving at the hospital as you may forget. You can also bring in cards / letters from loved ones.

You will be allowed to bring a mobile phone with you but please bring as few belongings as possible to minimise the risk of infection.

You should remove outer clothing eg. coat or jacket and leave these with the person who has brought you in, if you can. Please then roll up your sleeves.

You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds on arrival at the hospital. Frequent handwashing is effective at reducing the spread of infection. There are also hand sanitising points around the hospital, please feel free to use them.

We practice social distancing where possible in the hospital and you will be asked to adhere to this during your visit although on the ward you will witness that this is not always possible when caring for patients.

If you need to wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) for your visit, you should consider going to the toilet and having a small drink before putting it on, as this helps to avoid the need to put on and take off PPE more than once during the visit.  PPE will usually consist of gloves, gown, mask and a visor and is used in areas including the intensive care unit and some respiratory wards.

Arriving on the ward

As part of our measures to help keep our hospitals safe, you may need to have your temperature taken and be asked some questions about your general health (for example if you have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms) before being allowed to enter the hospital/ward.

You will be informed about what to expect when you see your loved one. We will also ask you to read and sign our visitors code of conduct, which sets out some important infection prevention and control information that you will need to follow.

You will be provided with appropriate PPE by staff and guided on where to clean your hands, how to put on the PPE and how to maintain social distancing between visitors, staff and other patients.

If you are not clear about the PPE please ask the staff supporting you.

Please ensure that you tell staff if you have any allergies to latex.

During your visit

Our staff will do what they can to support you during your visit and will advise you of any risks of visiting.

Please follow all instructions given by our staff, they will guide you to remove all PPE appropriately.

All visitors to our hospitals are asked to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water when they leave. Frequent handwashing is effective at reducing the spread of infection.

When you leave

As long as PPE is worn, you will not need to self-isolate after the visit, unless you have been to the intensive care unit, where the mask cannot be specifically fitted.  You will be advised of this by ward staff when arranging your visit.

You should stay at least 2 metres away from others as you leave the ward/hospital and avoid touching any surfaces.

Leave the ward/hospital as quickly as possible, using the most direct route, and go straight home.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.

Wash your hands again with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you get home.

Follow stay at home guidance if you become unwell.