Coronavirus: No hospital visits - what are the exceptions?

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The Department of Health in Northern Ireland said on Thursday that visiting in hospitals would end, as part of plans to deal with the Covid-19 surge.

You won't be able see your family member or friends, except in very limited circumstances.

And those very few visitors who are allowed must not visit if feeling unwell, especially if they have a high temperatures or a new persistent cough.

Children are not allowed to visit at all.

There are conditions for those who are allowed to visit.

  • They must either fully wash their hands or use sanitiser when they come into the hospital.
  • They cannot wear long sleeves - they should be bare-skinned from the elbows down
  • The only jewellery allowed is a flat wedding band
  • They must wash or sanitise hands when leaving.

These are the only exceptions to the visiting ban allowed by the Health and Social Care Board.

Paediatrics

Any children admitted can be accompanied by one parent of carer at a time.

Maternity

You can be accompanied by one birthing partner. There will be no visits at all in ante-natal or post-natal wards. You will not be allowed to bring someone with you for a scan either.

Neo-natal and paediatric intensive care

One parent may visit at a time - the duration of that visit is to be agreed by the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse.

Critical care areas

One visitor may be allowed into adult intensive care, coronary care and high dependency units. Again, the duration of that visit is to be agreed by the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse, up to a maximum of one hour.

Palliative care

One visitor will be allowed with a person who is dying. The duration will be agreed in advance, normally up to an hour.

Is this limited to hospitals?

It is the immediate policy for all hospitals, but the Board is encouraging that it is adopted for other settings like nursing and care homes and hospices.

Virtual 'visiting'

The Health and Social Care Board is encouraging people to arrange virtual visiting, with video call. It says staff can help set patients up with the free wi-fi that is available on all sites.

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