The Health Board now has an open hospital visiting policy in place
The new policy forms part of our ambition to make our inpatient wards more carer friendly by giving relatives, friends and carers the chance to spend more time with the patient they are visiting at a time that suits them. The policy promotes family, carers and friends playing an active role in patients’ care while they are in hospital.
It is widely believed that support from friends, family or carers has a positive impact on a patient’s recovery, and this is particularly true for patients with dementia. Open visiting provides opportunity for carers to spend more time with their loved one, and where appropriate be actively involved in their care during what can be a stressful and confusing time.
Prior to this launch our hospital visitors were only allowed on wards to visit their friends and relatives at set times in the afternoon and evening. Now access is available at any time of the day through discussion with ward staff. There will however be occasions when, for clinical reasons, visitors may be asked to come back later or move to another area of the ward for a short period of time due to clinical priorities. Visitors will be asked to adhere to sensible numbers around a patient’s bed and invited to promote supported mealtimes during the protected mealtime period.
It is important to also note that open visiting also allows easier access for families and carers to our clinical staff, enhancing communication opportunities and an opportunity for relatives and carers to participate in care if this is the wishes of the patient and family. This is particularly important in relation to caring for patients with dementia as we continue to ensure we are working towards a dementia friendly environment.
For clinical areas which require additional security, for example maternity and childrens services, these areas will continue to promote open visiting with of course no change to the security procedures which remain in place and must be adhered to.
We hope that this change of policy is positively viewed by all as it provides greater patient centred care and over the coming weeks we will be seeking feedback from patients, carers and visitors.