December 15, 2021 4.15 pm

Stricter patient visiting restrictions at Lincolnshire hospitals from Thursday

At hospitals in Lincoln, Boston and Grantham

General visiting will be restricted at Lincoln, Boston and Grantham hospitals from Thursday in response to the COVID-19 Level 4 threat, which was announced by the Chief Medical Officer’s office last week.

All NHS trusts are now acting under Level 4 National Incident Protocols, including the United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust (ULHT) which operates Lincoln County Hospital, Boston Pilgrim and Grantham and District Hospital.

The trust said it has made the difficult decision to restrict general visiting, with some exceptions, from Thursday, December 16. These changes will be revised on a regular basis.

These changes will help to restrict footfall within its hospitals and wards which will massively reduce the risk that COVID-19 continues to present to patients, who are vulnerable, especially through the Omicron variant.

The trust has used patient and staff feedback to ensure that it can continue to support visiting for maternity, paediatrics and neonates which is carefully monitored and has remained in place for some time.

Visitors who have loved ones who are towards the end of life will be fully supported to visit where this is safe to do so.

There is also support for special circumstances such as patients with dementia or with specific special needs, where visits and support may significantly benefit patient recovery. Highly unusual circumstances will also be considered.

Visiting exceptions

Compassionate grounds

  • Visiting patients who are towards end of life
  • Other exceptional circumstances for those who act as a carer and can support a patient’s recovery (for example dementia, learning disabilities, autism, mental health)

Maternity

  • The maternity department can support one birthing partner to attend the birth and a partner to visit women and their baby either antenatal or postnatal
  • Visiting hours on maternity wards is 1pm-7pm
  • Children are still not able to attend the hospitals to visit patients at this time
  • Partners can attend all hospital maternity appointments
  • Women and partners are encouraged to perform lateral flow tests prior to appointments.

Paediatrics and neonatal services

  • Parents who do not show the symptoms of infection can visit their children on children’s wards and neonatal units
  • Parents with a baby in neonatal care have access 24 hours a day. This includes overnight stays where accommodation allows
  • Any exceptions will be made on a case by case basis

See more information here.

A list of what items can be brought in for patients. | Graphic: ULHT

Dr Karen Dunderdale, Director of Nursing for ULHT, said: “Restricting visiting is one of the measures we are taking to protect our patients and staff as the threat level from the new COVID-19 variant Omicron needs to be carefully managed.

“We know that this decision will be upsetting for those who have loved ones in hospital, especially over the Christmas period, but we must prioritise the safety of our patients and staff at this time and do not take these decisions lightly.

“Please be kind and understanding with our teams who are going above and beyond to care for their patients.

“We have put in place some exceptions and our ward teams will work with families and carers to ensure access is available in the right circumstances.

“Wards will be offering the opportunity for families to talk to relatives via Skype or FaceTime where possible. Loved ones can also take advantage of the ‘Letter to a Loved One’ scheme, full details are available on our website. Please bear with us whilst we continue to ensure the safety of our patients as well as our staff.”

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