Updates to patient visiting restrictions from Saturday 28 August

27 Aug 2021

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across Devon, we have taken the difficult decision to update our inpatient visiting restrictions across the Trust.

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.

The following changes will be effective from Saturday 28 August 2021:

Inpatient visiting

  • For in-patients, every adult in-patient can have one visitor each day who can visit for 1 hour between 11am and 7pm – this should be the same person each day where it is reasonably practicable to do so. Appointments to visit must be made by contacting the appropriate ward at least one day prior to visiting
  • Patients who are COVID-19 positive or who are on a ward affected by an outbreak of COVID (even if they have tested PCR negative) will only be allowed visitors in exceptional circumstances e.g. end of life and after discussion with an Infection Prevention and Control Nurse and the Nurse in Charge.
  • Exceptional circumstances for extended inpatient visiting have not changed and remain as follows:
    • a familiar carer/relative 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 (staggered visiting will be encouraged)
    • for patients under 18 years of age, both parents/guardians from the same bubble can visit at the discretion of the nurse in charge - due to limited space in our paediatric service areas (Bramble inpatients, outpatients, PAU and DCU), only one parent can visit at one time, but can swap between the other parent/carer in the same household bubble - exceptions are at the discretion of the Nurse in Charge
    • 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.

Outpatient and diagnostic services

Visitor restrictions have not changed (last updated 12 April 2021) and are as follows:

  • 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)
    • Any patient who is receiving significant bad news or advance planning conversation should have someone in attendance  
  • 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.

Maternity services

Visitor restrictions have not changed (last updated 12 April 2021) and are as follows:

  • One support person can accompany pregnant women to any scan or hospital antenatal consultant appointment. Please continue to attend community midwifery antenatal and postnatal appointments alone.
  • If a woman is being induced, they can have a partner with them between the hours of 8am to 8pm - our staff will continue to contact partners and ask them to attend the unit if, due to pain or distress, support is required outside of these times
  • If a woman is attending triage in labour, one support person can accompany women when they are being cared for in established labour on the Birth Centre, Labour Ward or if attending for an elective caesarean section, until transfer to a postnatal ward.
  • Unless in labour, please continue to attend triage appointments alone. For inpatients on the ante/postnatal ward, one nominated support person can be with you during one of the following time slots:
    • 09.00 – 13.00
    • 13.00 – 16.00
    • 16.00 – 20.00

This nominated support person should be the only person who visits throughout the in-patient stay. Appointments to visit must be made by contacting 01392406688. Please note that children cannot visit at this time.

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 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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