Published 30th of November 2020 by the Welsh Government
We want to reassure you that the principle of accompanying your loved one to hospital and medical appointments and settings has not changed.
Families and paid care workers can still support someone when they are taken into hospital in emergencies and can discuss with individual wards the process for staying alongside their relatives to offer support where it is required. This is especially true for people who may lack capacity to understand the situation around them.
However, as we are now moving deeper into the winter pressures for the NHS, the Welsh Government has provided some further details for health settings to work to, and you may be asked by services to try and adhere to them as much as is practically possible.
Key points to note;
- There are still restrictions on the number of visitors.
- Virtual visiting will be encouraged where possible.
- Face-to-face visits need to be discussed and agreed in advance with ward managers and outdoors visits may be offered if appropriate.
- People who are classed as essential support assistants for specific additional support are not classed as visitors. In some circumstances, a family member or partner may be nominated as an essential support assistant.
- Visits should have a clear purpose and agreement for that visit will be based on the best interest of the loved you are visiting or the well-being of yourself, the visitor.
- Visitors aged 11 and over will have to wear a mask in all indoor areas and all visitors, unless they have a legitimate reason not to.
- In so far as possible, we should maintain 2m physical distancing whilst on hospital grounds.
Visit in Non-Covid Hospital areas;
- Patients with a learning disability will be allowed a visitor at a time when the lack of visitors would cause distress to the patient or where it is required as a reasonable adjustment to support the patient’s health assessment or intervention.
- If you are nominated as an essential support assistant for your loved one, you will not be classed as a ‘visitor’, but more as an extended element of care support.
- Children and young people may visit a parent/guardian/carer and should be accompanied by an adult.
- Guidance recognises the benefits of visiting to people with a long-term condition who need to be in healthcare for a long stay, and people who have specific care and well-being needs that the carer/visitor attends to. This should be documented in the person’s care plan.
Visits in Covid confirmed or assessment areas;
- Critical patients may receive visitors. This should be arranged in advance with the ward sister/charge nurse/nurse in charge. They may allow up to two visitors in critical wards, but it will remain one at the bedside at a time for a specific amount of time. This may be easier if the visitors are from the same household or part of the same bubble (extended household).
- People who were formerly shielding or highly at risk from the virus should be provided a medical mask and other relevant PPE where a visit is deemed essential.
- All visitors must comply with the hand hygiene and precautions when arriving and leaving the area and adhere to the covid policy of that area/ward/setting.
Visitors accompanying patients to scheduled appointments;
- Where an individual requires assistance to attend appointments due to capacity issues, or undue distress would be caused should be considered on an individual basis of personal need and care plan, and always in consultation with their family carer and/or support staff.
- Some people may require essential support assistants (example: support worker/interpreter). These people are essential and are not to be classed as visitors. If that support is given by a family carer then the family carer may be nominated as their essential support assistant.
- Existing medical appointments should be continuing, and access to GPs remains open to anyone who needs it. If an individual needs to see their GP or access a health service, reasonable adjustments need to be made to enable that service to happen – while working alongside the current COVID requirements and guidance.
Please click here for the full guidance
If you have any questions or doubts regarding the guidance, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us