A gradual move to more normal inpatient visiting arrangements is taking place in Dumfries and Galloway – in line with the move to Level 0 in the national COVID protection framework.
NHS Boards across Scotland are being asked to help secure a return to full person-centre visiting, subject to local health protection advice.
Work is taking place to make this possible. However, ensuring continued safety of patients and staff means that, for the moment, most patients within the region will continue to have a limit of two in-person visits per day.
Joan Pollard is chair of the Inpatient Visiting Group within NHS Dumfries and Galloway, and she said: “The safety of patients and staff is paramount, but the benefits to patients of receiving visitors is very well-documented and something we have been striving to support.
“As has been the case throughout this pandemic, a large amount of work is taking place to mitigate risk. We are required to ensure that moves we take do not jeopardise the welfare of individual patients and staff, or the ability of key services to function.
“Currently, in terms of visiting, we still need to maintain mitigations such as physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene and compliance with Test and Protect.
“As such, we will be continuing to apply a limit of two visits to most patients per day. This will remain until we are confident that we can secure a safe return to full person-centre visiting that complies with local health protection advice.
“We are already operating a visiting approach that is as flexible as possible, in that there are no dedicated visiting times and our inpatient facilities are being as accommodating as possible to meet the needs of our patients and their visitors within infection control and physical distancing requirements.
“And we would like to encourage families and friends to explore how, within the two person limit, we can widen those family members and friends visiting to allow the visitors to change during the patient’s stay in hospital.
“NHS Dumfries and Galloway has for some months operated a no-limit approach to the number of visitors at an end of life situation, and we plan to continue this approach.”
Arrangements for visiting must be made in advance by speaking to the charge nurse for the respective ward.
Anyone visiting hospital must follow NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s hand hygiene and hand washing advice, must don personal protective equipment as directed, and must not visit if experiencing symptoms of flu, COVID or if feeling generally unwell.
These measures are in the interests of the safety of patients and staff.
Meanwhile, work on expanding visiting opportunities is continuing to take place, with a particular focus on ensuring satisfactory arrangements linked to the Test and Protect system.
For full information on visiting arrangements within NHS Dumfries and Galloway, please visit the website www.nhsdg.co.uk/visiting/