Visiting restrictions relaxed further – East Suffolk & North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) is increasing opportunities for people to visit their loved ones in hospital.
Due to a reduction in COVID-19 cases, the following changes have been introduced in general inpatient wards:
- Daily visiting slots can be up to two hours long
- There will no longer be a restriction for patients to have visits from only three people
There will still be a rule of a maximum of two people at a patient’s bedside at any one time. But patients will be able to accept visits from more of their loved ones.
Visiting slots, which must still be booked in advance with ward teams, will be up to two hours long. Each patient can have one two-hour visiting slot a day (if you have a large family, talk to the ward team about whether there are extra visiting slots free).
This two-hour rule does not apply to visiting in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care, where more open visiting remains in place (see below). More flexible visiting for carers is also supported, as well as visits by siblings to our neonatal units, children’s wards and postnatal wards.
Anyone showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or anyone feeling unwell, should not visit ESNEFT hospitals. This is essential to help prevent the spread of infections including COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms may not be limited to just a fever, new continuous cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste.
The official list of symptoms has been expanded by the UK Health Security Agency to include nine more signs of infection:
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- aching body
- sore throat
- blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
Key points for general ward visiting to remember:
- Two visitors may visit a patient together for up to two hours a day. Each patient can have one two-hour visiting slot a day.
- Visiting slots must be booked in advance with ward teams.
- Visiting times will be staggered by ward staff to safely manage numbers of people on the wards. A limit on the maximum number of visitors in a ward bay during each visiting slot needs to be in place.
- Visiting is still suspended on COVID-19 wards and any bays on wards which are closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks. In exceptional circumstances, such as end of life care, visits will be arranged by ward leaders in these areas.
- Children are not able to visit general wards, apart from in exceptional or compassionate circumstances, such as end of life care. Where possible, children should wear a facemask.
- Children who are siblings of patients are welcome to visit neonatal units, postnatal wards and the children’s wards. These visits should be discussed and agreed with the ward teams in advance. Where possible, children should wear a facemask.
We will be asking visitors to:
- Book their visit in advance with ward teams.
- Take a rapid lateral flow test (LFT) for COVID-19 on the day of their visit (if they can).
- Always wear a surgical face mask covering their nose and mouth unless they are medically exempt. If they cannot wear a surgical face mask, visitors should be offered a visor as an alternative.
- Keep arm’s length distance from staff and other patients during their visit and time on the ward.
- Wash/sanitise their hands when entering and leaving the ward and our buildings.
- Report to ward reception upon arrival.
More open visiting will remain in place for:
- End of life care
- People in formal caring roles
- Supporting patients with dementia or a learning disability
- Parents of children in hospital
– Two birthing partners may attend the labour and birth of a baby
– Two adults (one birthing partner and one other), may visit antenatal/postnatal wards. The selected birthing partner may visit anytime between 8am and 8pm and a second visitor may accompany them for a booked one-hour slot during that time
– We are also welcoming siblings of newborns to our postnatal wards. These sibling(s) visits should be discussed and agreed with the ward teams in advance
Read more on our maternity appointments and visits page.
Attending ED and adult outpatients
- Some restrictions in ED (A&E) and outpatients remain in place, although patients can be accompanied by one visitor in these areas.
- Two parents/carers may visit a child together on our children’s wards. As always, one parent may remain with their child throughout their stay, including overnight. Children who are siblings of patients are welcome to visit children’s wards. These visits should be discussed and agreed with the ward teams in advance. Where possible, children should wear a facemask.
- Two parents/carers may attend an outpatient appointment with a child.
- If you have any questions, please call the children’s department caring for your child
This guidance applies to Colchester Hospital, Ipswich Hospital, Aldeburgh Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.
Helping your loved on to recover in hospital
Did you know you can help your loved one’s recovery when you’re visiting them in hospital?
Ways to help:
- Bring in clothing and toiletries and encourage the patient to wash and get dressed independently where possible.
- Make sure patients have any continence aids they are used to using so they feel confident, comfortable and dignified.
- Bring in their favourite nutritional snacks.
- For patients with cognitive impairments, ask staff if you can help complete a ‘This is Me’ document which will help hospital teams know more about the patient.