From Wednesday 1 July 2020, Oxford Health is allowing pre-booked limited visiting hours at our community hospitals on Mondays to Fridays.
We will be permitting one visitor for one hour for each patient and only once a day via a booking system at our hospitals in Abingdon, Bicester, City, Didcot, Wallingford and Witney.
This is in line with national guidance, regarding social distance, good basic infection prevention and control measures and appropriate use of protective equipment, including face coverings and, in certain circumstances, gloves and apron.
- Visits will not be allowed on to a ward where there are Covid positive patients. You will be informed if there is any exception to this rule by the ward.
- No child under the age of 16 will be able to visit.
- Visiting is available from Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays.
- Due to patient numbers and staff availability to support, there maybe slight differences across the county with time slots available.
- Times will be booked in advance by staff on the ward, who will contact named next of kin to arrange the appointment.
We take infection control and prevention very seriously and all visitors will be asked to wash their hands, dry them thoroughly and use alcohol gel before and after a visit. This will be made available at all ward entrances.
Visits will only be permitted to those who are well. Anyone exhibiting any features of coronavirus will not be allowed.
If you or an immediate member of your family have been unwell, especially with diarrhoea and/or vomiting you must not visit until you have been symptom free for 72 hours. The safety of visitors to the ward will be protected as much as is practicably possible.
Visitors with specific risks including the elderly and those with more than one condition/illness – for example heart disease and diabetes – who are considered vulnerable or shielding must be reminded that visiting patients within a hospital ward may pose a personal risk.
Clinical features of coronavirus may take up to 72 hours to develop during which time the patient may be infectious. Whilst staff will offer appropriate PPE to minimise risk, they cannot eradicate this completely.
If you are not able to visit for any reason all the wards have a patient phone which you are more than welcome to call. The numbers will be given to you when your relative or friend is admitted to ensure that you are able to stay in contact during their stay. We can also provide your family member or friend with an iPad so you are able to undertake a video call.
Ward staff will always be available during your visit to offer support and advice and to answer any questions that you have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I book a slot?
When a patient is admitted to hospital, a member of staff on the ward will contact you to arrange a suitable time for you to visit. Please ensure you provide us with a phone number that will be answered. If the phone goes into answerphone a message will be left and we will wait for you to contact us.
Can I choose a time to come?
Sorry, no. Slots are allocated depending on capacity and the availability of staff to support your visit. We want to make sure we spread visits evenly and fairly across a ward or hospital site.
Do I need to bring any personal protective equipment (PPE)?
We will provide you with the following:
- Fluid resistant surgical face mask
- Plastic apron
- In special circumstances where visiting is permitted to a patient who is Covid positive, visitors will also be asked to wear gloves.
All visitors will be reminded to wash and dry their hands thoroughly before using the alcohol gel provided prior to entering and leaving the ward. All PPE provided must be disposed of appropriately.
Outpatients and other members of the public in our hospitals are required to wear face coverings while on-site. This is in line with national guidance.
Why can I only visit for an hour?
Safety is key in terms of allowing more people into our hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. By limiting visiting to an hour, we keep the number of visitors to a safe level and it also ensures that everyone gets an equal amount of time.
Is visiting allowed on all wards?
Visiting will not be allowed in an environment where there are COVID positive patients. You will be informed immediately if this is the case. There are some exceptions and although this list is not exhaustive, we will try to accommodate a visit if your friend or family member has learning disabilities or dementia or is nearing the end of their life.
Can I use my wheelchair when I visit my family member or friend?
Yes, and if you require assistance with your wheelchair, we will accommodate your carer to accompany you on your visit.
Can I bring a child with me?
No, unfortunately we cannot accommodate this. But if the child is 16 and over and we have parental/guardian consent, a visit can be arranged.
I know two patients who are in the same hospital. Can I visit them both in my one-hour time slot?
Sorry, no. We are working to the ‘rule of one’ – so one visitor, for one patient, for one hour.
Can I bring gifts or presents?
We know that many people like to do kind things like bring gifts to people in hospital, but it’s important to be mindful of infection control. Please do not bring flowers and make sure that your gift isn’t shared with other patients. We try to keep the areas around patients’ beds clear for hygiene reasons so please do not bring too many gifts.
On the day of your visit
Where do I go when I arrive?
Please use designated entrances. This will vary from site to site and will therefore be explained to you when your family member or friend is admitted.
What do I do when I arrive at the hospital?
Please arrive no more than 10 minutes before you agreed time slot to allow for parking. Ring the ward when you arrive to announce your arrival. Our staff can then prepare for your visit and be ready for you.
What do I do when I arrive at the ward?
A member of our staff will provide you with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before you go to your family member or friend’s bedside. You will be asked to wash your hands-on arrival and on leaving the ward. Alcohol gel will also be provided. We will ask you to remain in place for the duration of your visit, unless you need to use the toilet. At the end of the one-hour time slot, we will ask you to leave the ward. Please keep your mask on at all times.
Can I use the toilet during my visit?
You can only use public toilets outside of the wards do NOT use any patient or staff toilets
Where can I sit?
Please do not sit on your relative or friend’s bed. Please sit on the chairs provided.
What happens when I leave the ward?
Make your way back to the agreed exit point. Remove your mask and place it in the bin provided Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before using the alcohol gel provided prior to leaving the ward.
If I can’t visit are there other ways I can keep in touch with them?
Of course. You are still able to call the ward, and our wards also have mobile phones which can be taken to the bedside. We also have some iPads which people can make video calls on. Please do ask the nursing teams on the wards for more information.
This is a trial policy, and we would really like to know how your visit went.
To leave feedback or for more information, please email PatientExperience.CommunityServices@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk