Updated 30th November 2020
Rules around hospital visiting during the COVID-19 outbreak were updated, following guidance issued by Welsh Government, on November 30
Visiting to hospitals throughout Wales remains restricted. This is to protect the health and safety of our staff, patients and service users, and continue to support social distancing at all health board sites.
Visits should be agreed with a clear purpose, based on the best interests of the patient or service user, as well as the well-being of the visitor.
Visiting, with agreement from the ward sister/charge nurse/nurse in charge, can be facilitated as follows; as long as visitors do not have any symptoms of COVID-19 or are recovered from COVID-19 and have not been knowingly exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
Within non-COVID-19 areas and services:
- One parent, guardian, or carer at the bedside at a time for paediatric inpatients and neonates.
- Patients who are in the last days of their life - this can be up to two visitors at a time, for a specified amount of time, from the same household or part of an extended household. If not from the same household or not part of an extended household they should visit the bedside separately and maintain distance outside of the clinical area.
- An essential support assistant and one birthing partner for women in active labour, preferably from the same household or part of an extended household.
- In general, one visitor at a time for a patient with mental health needs, dementia, learning disability or cognitive impairment, where lack of visiting would cause distress or it is required as a reasonable adjustment to support access to health assessment or intervention. However the number and frequency of visitors should be considered on an individual basis in light of the patient’s/service user’s needs, care plan and in consultation with their support staff or carer.
- Children and young people may visit a parent, guardian, carer or sibling in a healthcare setting and should be accompanied by one appropriate adult.
- People with long term conditions which necessitate increased length of stay in a healthcare setting or people with specific care and well-being needs that the visitor/carer actively contributes to, for example, feeding, supporting communication needs and supporting rehabilitation. The health and well-being of these patients may benefit from seeing appropriate visitors, as their length of stay is over many weeks. This should be documented in their care plan.
In COVID-19 confirmed and possible infectious areas:
- End of life COVID-19 patients may receive visitors during their last days of life, if permission is sought in advance from the ward sister/charge nurse/nurse in charge. This may be up to two visitors, one at the bedside at a time, for a specified amount of time, preferably from the same household or part of an extended household.
- People who were formerly shielding or who are otherwise at increased risk from the virus should avoid hospital visits wherever possible. Where a hospital visit is deemed essential, for example to visit a loved one in the last days of life, hospitals should provide medical masks. All permitted visitors must adhere to hand hygiene and infection control precautions on arriving and leaving the area.
Visitor access for partners and visitors of pregnant women in Welsh maternity services and neonatal services:
- One birthing partner/nominated other to provide support to women who are attending Early Pregnancy Assessment and Fetal Medicine ultrasound scans.
- One birthing partner for women in active labour, preferably from the same household or part of an extended household.
- One birthing partner/nominated other to provide support to women who are attending for an early pregnancy-dating scan (11 weeks + 2 days - 14 weeks +1 day gestation).
- One birthing partner/nominated other to provide support to women who are attending a fetal anomaly scan (18-20 weeks gestation).
The women’s directorate will review the position on extending visiting on a monthly basis. As it stands, the ongoing need to maintain social distancing and continued prevalence of the virus within communities across North Wales mean we cannot safely lift visiting restrictions within maternity services.
Visitor access for neonatal services:
- Both parents can be partners in their baby’s care.
- No other visitors are permitted in the Neonatal Units, including siblings.
- Parents are asked to attend the unit one at a time to assist with social distancing.
- Any parents who have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19 cannot visit and are required to follow the quarantine guidelines.
- In cases of bereavement /discontinuing intensive care, safe practices are put in place to allow the family to be together.
It is important that all visitors have agreement from the ward sister/charge nurse/nurse in charge before travelling for each visit. It may not be possible for visitors to see their loved ones every day and agreement for one visit should not be taken as agreement for further visits.
Visitors with any underlying conditions should be aware of the risks to themselves and discuss these with the ward sister/charge nurse/nurse in charge before visiting.
All visitors must:
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Adhere to the social distancing guidelines as far as possible
- Adhere to strict hand hygiene and infection control precautions on arriving and leaving
Visitors must not visit any other patients or hospital facilities en route.
The Health Board is also encouraging family and friends of patients under our care to consider alternative ways of keeping in touch, including the use of our hospitals’ free WiFi to use FaceTime or video calling.
You can also keep in touch with friends or relatives in hospitals using the Letter to Loved Ones service.
Our Patient Advice and Liaison Support Service (PALS) is here to help you. Our PALS Officers will do their best to resolve issues quickly and directly with the staff concerned. If you have an enquiry about visiting restrictions or a concern about a friend or relative who has been admitted, please contact PALS (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday except Bank holidays).