New visiting guidance for Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry comes into force today.
From today, all people visiting/attending any health and social care setting will be required to wear face coverings for the foreseeable future.
The public will be required to supply their own face covering and will not be permitted to enter the facility without it.
Anyone showing or experiencing the symptoms of COVID19 or any other infection should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild and unconfirmed.
In these circumstances the individual should remain at home and follow the latest public health advice on self-isolation and testing.
Each patient may nominate up to two people to visit throughout their hospital stay.
Visiting times are between 2 – 3pm and 4 – 5pm daily (excluding maternity), in order to assist the Trust to manage footfall of people in hospital and community facilities, and to maintain a safe environment for patients and health care workers.
Families will be provided with the specific visiting timetable and should not attend for visiting without prior arrangement with the ward.
Only one visitor at a time can visit except in exceptional circumstances and discussed with the Ward Manager.
You are advised not to visit if you are shielding.
No children under 16 may visit.
Visits will be a maximum duration of one hour.
Visitors will be required to sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the hospital/care home/facility and again on entering and leaving the ward or area where the visit is taking place.
Entrance and exit points may differ and visitors are asked to adhere to the signage in place.
The Trust also has a ‘keep left’ approach in place to promote social distancing.
Visitors should use the entrance closest to the ward/department they are accessing at Altnagelvin Hospital.
The main entrance at South West Acute Hospital should be used by all patients and visitors.
Birth partner/nominated person will be facilitated to accompany the pregnant woman to fetal anomaly scan.
Women must attend all other scan appointments in Ante Natal Clinic, Gynae Ward 43 and Fetal Assessment Unit on their own.
One person only to accompany patients in the emergency department where the patient is unable to understand or communicate with staff.
Where it is necessary for the patient to attend face-to-face outpatient appointments, only one person to accompany where the person is unable to understand or communicate with staff.
The Trust would also like to remind the public that due to social distancing, very limited refreshments will be available on our hospital sites.
Dr Bob Brown, Executive Director of Nursing at the Western Trust, said: “The new arrangements have been developed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff during a pre or low surge of COVID19.
“We recognise that this has been a very difficult time for patients and families and we would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding as we implement our new visiting guidance.”
Dr Brown continued: “We would also like to take the opportunity to once again thank our amazing community and hospital staff who have worked beyond the call of duty, under the most challenging of circumstances throughout recent months.
"Staff have not only been providing first class clinical care, but also became an extended family to patients, spending additional time at the bedside comforting and hand holding when loved ones were unable to do so and helping patients make contact with their loved ones through virtual means.”
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