Updated information for visits to community hospitals and mental health wards

As virus cases continue to fall we have updated our guidance for visiting on our community and mental health wards.

Updated information for visits to community hospitals and mental health wards

From Monday May 3 new arrangements will be in place for patients to be visited by a different person each day and for visits by children under 16. Our visit booking system remains in place and all sessions must be by prior arrangement. Please don’t try to visit without a booking.

Pre-booked visiting hours are available at our community hospitals and mental health wards on Mondays to Fridays.

Patients are still able to receive a daily visit from one person for one hour but this has now been opened up to allow a different person to visit each day. Where space allows, and with the agreement of the ward manager, it may be possible to accommodate two visitors from the same household or bubble at the same time.

When meeting in the ward garden patients may receive up to four visitors at the same time, although the visit should still be limited to one hour per day. Children under 16 can be accommodated in a garden visit if supervised by a parent or carer. In some circumstances, and if an outdoor visit is not possible, visits by children may also be permitted indoors.

All visitors are asked to observe 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.

  • Visitors 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
  • Lateral Flow Testing is not required for visitors
  • Names and contact details for all visitors will be recorded and retained for a minimum of 14 days following a visit for contact tracing purposes
  • Visiting is available from Monday to Friday, not including bank holidays
  • Times will be booked in advance by staff on the ward

We take infection control and prevention very seriously and all visitors will be asked to wear fluid resistant masks, sanitise hands, and observe social distancing at all times.

Visits will only be permitted to those who are well and anyone exhibiting any features of coronavirus will not be allowed access.

Thank you for helping us keep our patients safe.

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 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.

Oxford Health also has a Letters to a Loved One service. Family and friends can have their message printed off and delivered or read out at the bedside. You can email or send a Word attachment and even include a digital photo to keepintouch@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

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:

  1. Fluid resistant surgical face mask
  2. Plastic apron
  3. 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.

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.

Can I bring a child with me?

Yes, visits by children under 16 can now be arranged in ward gardens and, where an outdoor visit is not possible, indoors by prior agreement with ward staff.

To leave feedback or for more information, please email PatientExperience.CommunityServices@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk


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Published: 30 April 2021