NHS Lanarkshire will reintroduce visiting across all acute inpatient wards and units on Easter Sunday.
The new arrangements will come into effect on April 17 and patients can now have one visit a day with one visitor at each visit – however, the visitor can change from day to day.
There will remain in place essential visiting in ward areas or settings where the environment makes visiting difficult due to COVID restrictions, social distancing or there may be an active outbreak.
Staff will use their professional judgment on when a visit can take place.
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Visiting will still be by appointment only and visitors need to contact the ward to arrange a time to visit. They will also need to have a negative lateral flow test and staff will be asking people to confirm they have undertaken a test before access to wards.
NHS Lanarkshire nurse director Susan Friel said: “We have reviewed our essential visiting restrictions and are now in a position to be able to accommodate one visit a day with one visitor at each visit.
“We know that this will bring some comfort to our patients who may not have been able to see loved ones recently. This will provide those patients in hospital with the vital support they need from family, carers or friends.
“However, while the majority of our patients will be able to have visitors there are some restrictions which we need to maintain in areas where space is confined or we have an outbreak and patient safety is paramount.
“While visitors can now have close contact with their loved one, they are reminded to adhere to physical distancing in communal areas of the hospital, wear face coverings at all times and frequently wash their hands when entering and leaving clinical areas.”
The following measures are in place to manage visiting safely and minimize risk:
· A lateral flow test must be undertaken and a negative result verbally confirmed to ward staff.
· No visits should take place if the visitor has symptoms of Covid-19, or is quarantining because they have had contact with a person with Covid-19.
· Physical distancing must be observed in all communal areas of the hospital
· Face coverings must be worn, and existing hand hygiene measures will continue.
· Movement around other areas must be limited as much as possible and communal gatherings in public areas of the hospital must be avoided.
The health board will continue to monitor visiting on a regular basis to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.