THE Western Trust has announced that all of its hospital sites are to move to the same ‘1-1-1’ visiting restrictions (one visitor per patient for one hour, once a day), with effect from Monday, September 27 (in most circumstances).
These changes will bring all Western Trust Hospital sites back in line with the regional Department of Health visiting guidance for the first time since the beginning of the fourth COVID surge in mid-July.
Commenting on the new guidance, Western Trust Executive director of Nursing, Primary Care and Older People's Services, Dr Bob Brown, said: “As a Trust we recognise the importance of visiting patients in Hospitals and that it can be a great support, particularly for older people.
“We want to be able to facilitate safe, secure visiting in as controlled and risk managed a way as possible and for that reason, looking at the transmission rates and evaluating risk assessments from across all of our Hospitals, from Monday, September 27 we will implement consistent visiting arrangements in all Trust facilities for one visitor per patient for one hour, once a day.
“Some exceptions will be made in special circumstances, for example, given the clinical vulnerability of the patient group, particularly in the haematology setting, visiting in the North West Cancer Centre will continue to be restricted to assessment on an individual basis involving the patient, family and team.”
It has also been announced that these conditions will also apply to both COVID and ICU wards, where in the interests of patient safety visitation will be by individual negotiation with Ward Managers on a case by case basis.
More frequent visiting in exceptional circumstances, such as at the end of life will continue to be permitted, as will visiting for birthing partners to maternity services, each in an individually risk assessed way.
Paediatric wards (children’s) in Altnagelvin and South West Acute Hospital will continue to permit a parent to be at the child’s bedside, again ensuring this is risk assessed and in a COVID-19 secure way.
This position will be reviewed again on Friday, October 1.
The Western Trust is also encouraging members of the public to complete lateral flow tests before visiting any of its premises to provide confidence to both visitors and staff that visitors are not COVID positive and to help the Trust maintain COVID safe environments for all.
These visiting arrangements will remain under constant review and may change in response to any further increase in infection rates impacting on any particular department, eg an inability to retain a COVID-19 secure environment of care.
The safety of patients and staff will always be to the forefront of any decision made, the Trust says.
Patients have been reminded only to attend A&E alone, where possible.
Children and vulnerable adults can be accompanied by one person.