Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has taken this difficult, however important, decision to protect its patients and staff.Until further notice, visiting will only be permitted in the following circumstances and PPE must be worn:
- For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness
- For birthing partners in maternity units
- For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit
- For long-stay patients and those with dementia or where best interest decisions or exceptional clinical/social matters are being discussed, at the discretion of the nurse in charge
Women can bring their birthing partners when attending 12 or 20-week scan appointments.
This move comes as tougher restrictions are announced for the seven local authority areas in the North East, including Northumberland and North Tyneside.
iPads will continue to be available on wards to facilitate ‘virtual’ visiting and friends and relatives will be able to stay connected to loved ones by ringing the trust’s patient line on 0191 293 4306, available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm or sharing pictures/photos via firstname.lastname@example.orgIn addition, patients can make unlimited phone calls to UK landlines and mobiles free of charge via bedside units.
Anyone attending an outpatient or diagnostic appointment or for a minor injury, urgent care or in an emergency at hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside is asked to do so alone, unless they need to be accompanied by a carer, to reduce footfall. People attending hospital sites are being reminded to wash their hands at the basins when entering and leaving, wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.
Marion Dickson, executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at Northumbria Healthcare, said:
“In light of the increased numbers of cases of coronavirus across Northumberland and North Tyneside, we simply must take action now to protect our patients, staff and local communities.
“Suspending non-essential visiting is a difficult decision to make however, given the current situation in our communities, it is the right one if we are to reduce the spread of coronavirus in our hospitals and take care of our most vulnerable patients.
“As nurses, we know the positive impact seeing and hearing from loved ones can have on a patient and we would urge families to make use of the methods we have in place to facilitate virtual visiting and staying connected.
“We had tremendous support from our communities when we had these visiting restrictions in place previously and we would appeal to them again for their co-operation at this difficult time.”
The trust is also reminding people to:
- Follow advice on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/if they have symptoms and not to attend A&E or hospital sites for a Covid-19 test.
- Keep your distance and follow rules on social distancing – please stay apart 2 metres from others where possible. If it isn’t – one metre with mitigations such as a face covering.
- Do not mix with people from outside your household or support bubble
- Wear a face covering – especially in enclosed public spaces when social distancing can be difficult or when you are in contact with people you would not normally meet. This includes when you are using public transport, car sharing and using taxis. Please remember to wear a face covering if you are attending health care settings such as a hospital, clinic, GP surgery or pharmacist.
- Keep those hands extra clean – wash hands for 20 seconds and often. Use soap and water to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser. It is especially important to do this when you
- get home or into work
- blow your nose or sneeze
- eat or handle food or drinks
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste
If you have symptoms, you are advised to get a test and stay at home. For more information visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus