Extended visiting hours to be tested at Scunthorpe hospital

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Visiting hours on six wards at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust will be extended from 11am to 8pm as part of a three-month pilot.

The move has been prompted by feedback from patients and visitors who want to have greater flexibility to pop and see their family when they are in hospital.

The following wards are testing the extended hours from Saturday August 1:

· Scunthorpe hospital – ward 18, ward 11 and the stroke unit

· Grimsby hospital – Amethyst ward, B6 and the stroke unit.

Visiting times on other wards will remain restricted to 2.30pm to 4pm and 6.30pm to 8pm, apart from those specialist wards such as maternity, neonatal unit, intensive care units and children’s wards where there is already greater flexibility by arrangement.

Tara Filby (pictured), acting chief nurse, said: “We are committed to providing quality person-centred care. Central to this is involving patients, carers and families and that is why we are testing a more flexible approach to visiting.

“We know patients benefit greatly from having their loved ones visit them during their hospital recovery, and we also know that visitors appreciate this added flexibility as it makes visiting much easier to fit in with their work and other commitments.”

At the end of the three-month trial, taking into account feedback from patients, visitors and staff, a decision will be made whether to extend it to wards across the whole Trust.

Paul Kirton-Watson, associate chief nurse for medicine, said: “We would ask all visitors to show consideration to the person they are visiting and to others on the ward as our patients also need to make sure they get plenty of rest to aid their recovery.”

Wards are exceptionally busy places with ward rounds, drug rounds and therapists and other healthcare professionals visiting. There may be times when visitors are asked to leave the ward while the patient they are visiting or another patient on the ward is being treated.

Paul said: “Our objective is to provide flexible and responsive visiting times for people as we know it can aid people in their recovery, but to also maintain the confidentiality of all of our other patients at the same time.”

Guidance for visitors to ward areas remains the same:

· Please keep the number of visitors to two at any one time to avoid disturbing other patients

· For infection control reasons, please do not sit on the bed

· Please do not visit if you have a current or recent illness, such as diarrhoea or vomiting

· Occasionally patients may benefit from a rest period or may require treatment during visiting times, and ward staff will inform visitors if this is the case

· Please always use the hand gel when entering and leaving the wards

· Please note if you visit the ward during a protected mealtime, you may be asked to wait in the day room for a short time. Alternatively, patients may benefit from family or friends assisting them during meal times, so please speak with the ward staff if you wish to assist in this.

Ward 18 manager Julieann Woollas said: “We are hoping by extending our visiting times it will help improve our communication and involvement with families and friends. It will also fit better with modern-day working patterns making it easier for people to visit, which in many cases will help to speed up recovery, as support from family and friends is a crucial part of the healing process.

“Visitors need to remember though that wards are busy places and our main priority will always be to providing care and treatment for all of our patients, and respecting their privacy and dignity at all times.”