Updated visitor restrictions across the RD&E

10 Jan 2022

In line with increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases across the country, national guidance on visiting healthcare inpatient settings has been updated to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. While visiting across the RD&E/NDHT remains in place, to help us better manage infection control risks, a number of changes to inpatient visiting, which are outlined below, will be effective from today, 10 January 2022.

We realise that these times can be distressing for patients and their loved ones, and we are sorry that we must restrict visits to hospital to protect patients and staff from COVID-19. We would like to thank you for your ongoing patience and understanding during what continues to be a challenging time.

Changes to inpatient visiting

One named visitor for each adult inpatient:

  • In line with national guidance, we have taken the difficult decision to reduce the number of named visitors from three to one for the duration of each patient’s stay to help keep our patients, staff and other visitors safe.
  • Therefore, every adult inpatient may have one named visitor who can visit for 1 hour between 11am and 7pm each day.

Requirement of a negative lateral flow test:

  • All visitors will be asked to confirm that they have completed a negative lateral flow test within the last 24 hours.
  • Please note that while visual confirmation/proof of a negative lateral flow is not required, we ask that all visitors please take a lateral flow test within 24 hours and confirm this negative result when booking your appointment to help us keep our patients, staff and other visitors safe.

Requirement of a face coverings unless medically exempt:

  • A face covering must be worn at all times, including when entering and moving through an RD&E healthcare setting, unless medically exempt from wearing a mask.

The following inpatient visiting restrictions have not changed and remain in place:

  • Visiting must be arranged by appointment to enable ward staff to ensure social distancing whilst visiting.
  • For patients who are COVID positive, clinically COVID or contacts of COVID the visitor should be the same person each day, wherever possible. Visiting to COVID wards remains at the discretion of the Nurse in Charge in exceptional circumstances only.
  • Exceptional circumstances for extended or COVID inpatient visiting include:
    • a familiar carer/relative may visit for extended periods if there are specific reasons of safety – dementia or learning disability where anxiety would be increased significantly
    • up to four visitors for patients identified as receiving end-of-life care. Patients who are at the end of their life, where death is imminent will usually be in a single room and can be supported by up to four visitors in the period of 2-3 weeks prior to death. Although up to four visitors are allowed, the four designated visitors should be encouraged to stagger their visiting, where possible, and avoid visiting at one time.
    • both parents/guardians of patient under 18 years of age where the family bubble can be maintained
    • a relative/carer for patients who do not meet the above criteria but may require assistance with their communication and/or to meet their health, emotional, religious or spiritual care needs at the discretion of the nurse in charge

No changes to outpatient appointments, diagnostic testing, ED and admission areas

Please note there have been no changes to our outpatient appointments, diagnostic testing, ED and admission areas at this time:

  • Patients will continue to be advised that wherever possible, they should attend their appointment alone.
  • Exceptions where a patient can be accompanied by one other person are:
    • Children (under 18 years of age) – one parent or guardian
    • Anyone with a learning disability or dementia can be accompanied by one family member/companion/carer
    • Anyone with a disability who would not be able to access information or would require assistance during an examination – one family member/companion/carer
    • Any patient who may need emotional support or help to understand complex information about diagnosis or treatment during an appointment may be accompanied (this should be arranged in advance)
  • For ED and our other admission areas: critically ill patients (at the discretion of the nurse in charge) can also be accompanied by one other person.

For outpatient appointments and diagnostic testing: if one of the above exceptions is not met but a patient feels it’s essential they’re accompanied, they will be asked to contact the department ahead of their appointment to confirm their request can be accommodated

Click here for the latest maternity antenatal/postnatal ward restrictions.

Other ways to keep in touch:

Our 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 10:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday, 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 to 4pm

For the community hospitals, please contact the relevant hospital prior to dropping off any patient property - see the 'Our sites' page for contact details.

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