Physical visiting is once again suspended other than for the circumstances described below. We need to ensure the highest protection to our patients, visitors and staff. Non-essential visiting is suspended Due to the rise in cases of coronavirus in the community, non-essential visiting is to be suspended at Barnsley Hospital, with effect from midnight of Wednesday 14 October 2020. We have taken this difficult and important decision to protect patients and staff. We understand this will be upsetting for patients and their families, however the restrictions are in place to reduce the number of people on wards and departments, and to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid-19. We regularly review our visiting guidance so please check this website for the latest information. Until further notice, visiting will only be permitted in the following circumstances and PPE must be worn: For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness. For birthing partners in maternity units. For birthing partners to accompany mothers to 12 and 20 week ultrasound appointments. By arrangement with your midwife, to provide emotional support for women attending scans during early pregnancy. For parents or legal guardians in the children’s unit. For long-stay patients and those with dementia or where best interest decisions or exceptional clinical/social matters are being discussed, at the discretion of the nurse or midwife in charge. We offer “Virtual visiting” for all inpatients who would like it. This means regular phone calls or Whatsapp video calling with help from staff and volunteers. Talk to the ward nursing team or visit our website for more information. All inpatients are encouraged to keep in touch with friends and relatives using their own phone. In order to reduce footfall though the hospital, anyone attending an outpatient or diagnostic appointment, or coming to our Emergency Department is asked to do so alone, unless they need to be accompanied by a carer. People coming to the hospital are reminded to use our hand hygiene stations when entering and leaving, wear a face covering and maintain social distancing. When in the hospital, visitors must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times unless they have an exemption. Please expect staff and volunteers to ask you to wear a mask if they see you without one. Some charities have provided lanyards to those who are exempt from wearing face coverings. We do not ask children under the age of 11 to wear face coverings. Wherever possible outpatients and visitors should arrange to be driven to and from the hospital by a member of their household to minimise the risk of exposure to others, so avoid using public transport if you can. Because of the safety precautions we have in place at the hospital, we don’t anticipate anyone will be required to self-isolate following a hospital visit so long as they follow social distancing advice, wear a mask at all times during their visit, wash their hands regularly, and wear any additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as advised by the nursing team at the time of the visit. Barnsley Hospital’s Director of Nursing Jackie Murphy, said: “In light of the increased numbers of cases of coronavirus across our region, we feel we have to take action now to protect our patients, staff and local community. “Suspending non-essential visiting is a difficult decision to make however, given the current situation in our communities, it is the right one if we are to reduce the spread of coronavirus and take care of our most vulnerable patients. “Our nursing teams know the positive impact seeing and hearing from loved ones can have on a patient so we urge families to make use of our virtual visiting service to stay connected.” Nobody with Coronavirus symptoms should come to the hospital for an appointment, or to visit or accompany someone else. You must also not visit the hospital if you are Covid positive, self-isolating, shielding, or unwell. How to get personal belongings to a patient in the hospital Please talk to the ward directly about how to get property to a patient. They will let you know where you need to go, and more details about the process. Hard items like mobile phones or books will be cleaned before being delivered to the ward. Soft items like clothes or soft toys will be placed in storage for 72 hours before they are given to patients. How to stay updated about a patient’s care at the hospital Proactive communication about a patient’s care usually takes place face-to-face with a patient’s family or carers during visits. This has not been possible during the Covid pandemic, so we currently provide this communication over the phone. On admission to the ward, the nurse caring for the patient will record who will be their nominated point of contact. This person will receive regular telephone calls from the ward about the patient’s care. The ward will always try to discuss discharge planning arrangements with the nominated point of contact so long as the patient agrees this is OK. Patient feedback The standard paper-based NHS Friends and Family test was suspended at the end of March 2020 until further notice. Patients are still able to provide feedback through dedicated staff and volunteers who make daily visits to each area of the hospital. They complete a digital survey on behalf of any patient who wishes to provide feedback.