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Visiting restrictions temporarily reinstated

Due to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases we have made the extremely difficult decision to temporarily suspend visiting to adult inpatient wards within County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, effective immediately.

Restricting visiting is not an easy decision, but we need to act to help protect our patients and our workforce.

We very much recognise the many benefits visitors can bring to a patient's care and wellbeing; but we must also maintain our duty of care to protect our own people and all patients by minimising the risk of the spread of infection. We know this is very difficult for loved ones. We have iPads available on our wards so patients can be visited virtually and messages and photographs can also be shared through our popular 'Stay in Touch' scheme.

We do have some exceptions to visiting restrictions in place which are listed below:

  • Patients receiving end of life care
  • Women having antenatal scans will be able to be accompanied by their chosen support person
  • Women in labour will be able to have one birthing partner
  • A daily postnatal visit by chosen support person
  • One parent or carer will be able to accompany children in our emergency departments, children's wards and neonatal units
  • Patients with dementia, a learning disability or autism and those who require a carer
  • Where visiting will support discharge or the mental wellbeing of a patient this may also be arranged at the discretion of the ward manager/nurse in charge

Visitors:

  • are encouraged to be double-vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the visit and where possible have also had their COVID-19 booster vaccine
  • will be required to produce evidence of a negative lateral flow test undertaken on the same day, prior to the visit, such as a dated photograph of the test strip or screenshot from the NHS app. This includes resident parents who will have to undertake a lateral flow test every day
  • Visits can only take place by appointment with the Ward clerk and will be limited to one hour per patient per day.

We will continue to monitor and consider this position to look at the possible, safe reintroduction of visiting and how this would be managed. Current restrictions will remain in place while community prevalence, hospital admissions and outbreaks remain high. Please be kind to our colleagues when they are making arrangements with you, they are following our guidelines to help protect all patients.

'I have to compliment everyone on their pleasant persona and their expertise and knowledge. By the end of the 5 days, I did not feel as though I had been in a hospital ward and was very relaxed.'

Patient, Ward 16 Orthopaedics, University Hospital of North Durham