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Health

Visiting remains suspended across UHMBT hospitals

Furness General Hospital

Due to the ongoing risks associated with coronavirus (COVID-19), visiting at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) will remain temporarily suspended.

In exceptional circumstances, one visitor (an immediate family member or carer) is permitted to visit if:

  • The patient is receiving end-of-life care
  • The visitor is a birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour
  • The visitor is a parent or appropriate adult visiting their child
  • The visitor is supporting someone with dementia, a learning disability, autism, or something similar – where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed

Visitors for the above must be agreed with the nurse in charge of the ward before attending the hospital.

Please agree one main point of contact per patient and this should be the only person that contacts the ward by telephone to arrange visiting. To find the contact number for the ward you require please visit: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/get-in-touch/phone-number-directory

Sue Smith OBE, Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “We temporarily suspended visiting back in March and since then; local people have been outstanding in their support for our Trust by following the restrictions and not visiting their loved ones in hospital. We cannot underestimate how hard it will be for people not to be able to visit their family or friends so we wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for their continued cooperation.

“Whilst we are preparing to welcome some patients back into the services that were temporarily suspended or changed, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to maintain everybody’s safety. We need to keep the number of people inside our hospitals to an absolute minimum to help reduce the spread of coronavirus so that means we are not in a position to be able to reinstate visiting.

“We appreciate that this will be difficult to hear for some but we hope they will understand that we have to do what’s right to protect all those that are receiving care or working in our hospitals.”

To enable patients to keep that important contact with their family and friends, the Trust has put a number of things in place, including:

  • Teams across the Trust are encouraging patients to keep in touch via their smartphone or tablet if they are able to
  • A small supply of iPads is available in each hospital to allow patients to video call their family and friends
  • Relatives and friends can share messages with their loved ones in hospital by filling in the form on the Trust’s website at: https://www.uhmb.nhs.uk/get-in-touch/staying-connected-your-lovedones. The message is then delivered direct to the patient

Sue concluded: “We understand that visiting is very important to our patients and their loved ones and as soon as we are able to lift the suspension, we will. In the meantime, we would ask for the public’s help in continuing to respect these rules to help us all stay safe.”

From Monday 15 June, hospitals including UHMBT have also implemented new measures on the use of face masks and coverings. As part of the measures, visitors and patients coming to hospital for urgent, planned and outpatient care will need to wear face coverings to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus to other patients and staff.

Patients are being encouraged to bring their own face coverings, which can be made of cloth and be reusable in line with government guidance. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice are also acceptable, providing they are not loose and cover the mouth and nose.

Patients and visitors will continue to be provided with face masks when entering clinical areas of the hospital. People who do not bring a face covering with them when attending hospital will be provided with one at the entrance.

To find out how to wear and make a cloth face covering please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

As well as the above restrictions, you should not visit any health and care settings if you or someone you live is unwell, especially if you have any of the following symptoms – high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste.

The latest coronavirus guidance is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

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