Changes to patient visiting restrictions from Thursday 29 October

28 Oct 2020

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitals across Devon have taken the difficult decision to further restrict visiting to compassionate grounds and for carers only.

We appreciate how hard separation can be for our patients and their families, as well as for our staff, and we have a number of measures in place to ensure contact is maintained. These include regular contact from staff to a designated family member, the use of iPads for ‘virtual visiting’ and our patient experience team can receive and pass on letters, drawings and cards from loved ones to patients.

From 7pm tomorrow, Thursday 29 October 2020, to reduce the risk to patients, staff and visitors, no visiting* will be allowed at the RD&E except for:

  • if there are specific reasons of safety – dementia or learning disability where anxiety would be increased significantly
  • inpatients under the age of 18 years old – one parent/guardian only (both parents are permitted in the neonatal unit)
  • at outpatient and diagnostic appointments where a patient may need emotional support, they can be accompanied by one person from the same household or support bubble
  • a patient receiving end-of-life care can receive more than one visitor from the same household or support bubble within a 24 hour period

*Please note that there will be no changes to maternity services restrictions. The maternity visiting and appointment restrictions, which have been in place since 29 September 2020, are as follows:

  • If a woman is being induced, they can have a partner with them between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Outside of these hours our staff will continue to contact partners and ask them to attend the unit if, due to pain or distress, support is required.
  • If a woman is being cared for in a birth centre, labour ward or in theatre, they can have one birth partner with them. This is usually when they are in labour, having a caesarean or in the immediate postnatal period.
  • One partner or designated individual may make an appointment with ward staff to visit the postnatal ward once per day for a set time between the hours of 4pm and 7pm.
  • One partner is able to attend the dating scan (at approx 12 weeks) and the anomaly scan (at 20 weeks)

Other ways to keep in touch:

Our The Family Liaison Service can:

  • relay personal messages to and from patients who are staying on wards
  • arrange virtual visiting with a video call to family
  • receive essential items for patients

Personal messages

Email your message and/or a photo to: rde-tr.pals@nhs.net with the patient name and ward. Alternatively, call: 01392 402093 and leave the message you’d like shared with your love one.

Virtual visits

If your loved one does not have a smartphone, it is sometimes possible for us to arrange a virtual visit. To see if you can use this service, please contact the team Monday-Friday, 9.30-4.30pm on:

  • Wonford: 01392 402093 / or email rde-tr.pals@nhs.net
  • Exmouth: 01395 279684
  • Sidmouth: 01395 512482
  • Tiverton: 01884 235400

Receive essential items

All essential items should be bought in an easy to wipe clean bag which is clearly labelled with the patients name and ward.

For Wonford, the drop off point is situated in the PALS office in the Main Entrance and is available:

  • Monday to Friday: 9.30am – 4pm
  • Saturday to Sunday: 10am – 2pm  

For the community hospitals, please contact the relevant hospital prior to dropping off any patient property - see our website for contact details.

We are advising that people should also avoid travelling where possible, and should not travel to or from areas that have been categorised in the high/very high alert level (national tiers 2 & 3).

These updated visiting restrictions will be in place from tomorrow evening for at least the next 2 weeks. Even under these circumstances, people should not visit if they are displaying COVID-19 symptoms or should be self-isolating because they live with someone who has symptoms.

For those who can visit they must follow our visiting guidance available here on the Trust website and ensure they follow all social distancing, PPE and handwashing rules.

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