The chaplaincy service is being re-introduced to Altnagelvin Hospital.
Since the stopping of visitors to the local hospital because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, religious chaplains have also been unable to provide comfort to patients.
However, the Western Trust says that they will move to a phased re-introduction of the chaplaincy service to enable chaplains to visit certain patients in our hospitals.
A Trust spokesperson said: "In March, the Trust’s initial planning process for the COVID-19 pandemic included a decision taken with the approval of Trust Hospital Chaplains, that they would not continue to visit hospitalised patients (COVID-19 positive and non-COVID-19 patients) and alternative methods were put in place (such as virtual visiting using mobile technology).
"This decision was made at a time when the Trust was planning to manage a large surge in COVID-19 positive patients and minimised staff visits to wards.
"The re-introduction of the Chaplaincy Service will include Trust Chaplains visiting patients on non-COVID wards who are close to the end of life, at the request of the patient/ family.
"This will be arranged between the Ward and the Chaplain with strict visiting instructions to visit only one patient.
"There will also be a patient-specific option for a Trust Chaplain to visit a suspect or positive COVID patient in a COVID-ward including ICU/HDU with the permission of the patient’s Consultant and the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse."
The Trust spokesperson said that any chaplain visiting a COVID patient would be provided with appropriate protection equipment.
The spokesperson added that the decision in relation to the re-introduction of the chaplaincy service will be kept under review as the situation develops.
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