Covid-19: guide for visitors

We have made the difficult decision to put in place new restrictions for hospital visiting at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and University Hospital Lewisham.

The majority of adult hospital inpatients will not be permitted to have visitors during their stay. This is due to rising cases of Covid-19 in the community and in our hospitals.

 

A small number of inpatients will still be permitted visitors under exceptional circumstances, which are described below. There are also still visiting arrangements in place for maternity, neonatal and children’s (paediatric) services.

This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but – under the current circumstances – we do need to do everything we can to keep patients, staff and visitors safe. We are keeping the situation under regular review and we will relax the visiting arrangements as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

Where visiting is still allowed

In the areas below, all visitors will need to wear a face covering, follow social distancing guidelines and show proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within the last 24 hours to be able to enter. You can order a lateral flow test and register the result on the government website to get proof as a text/email. Alternatively, you can call 119 from 7am to 11pm if it is not possible to use the government website.

Pregnant women and birthing partners

  • Those giving birth will still be able to bring one birthing partner with them when in labour and on the maternity ward (including the postnatal ward)
  • You will be able to attend hospital-based antenatal clinics with one other person
  • Babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care wards can still be visited by both parents (or by the mother and their chosen partner) at any time

Children’s wards

  • Both parents are permitted to visit children who are inpatients on our paediatric wards.

End-of-Life care

  • Patients nearing the end of their lives are permitted to have up to four visitors where arrangements can be made safely. This also applies to end-of-life care patients who are being treated in critical care. You must speak to the ward manager in advance to agree how many visitors are permitted, and when the visits can take place. All visitors will need to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided by the ward team. 

Critical Care / Intensive Care Units

  • Patients in critical care will be permitted visitors in exceptional circumstances, and at the discretion of the clinical teams caring for them. You must speak to critical care in advance to agree the number of visitors and when visits can take place.

Patients with disabilities or specific care needs

Please speak in advance to the relevant ward manager, matron or head of nursing to agree visiting arrangements for patients with specific care needs. This includes arranging visits for:

  • Patients with dementia, learning disabilities or mental health needs
  • Patients who are in distress or who require an interpreter
  • Patients whose health is deteriorating due to isolation

 

Protecting patients and staff

Our priority continues to be to protect our patients and staff so we it is very important that you do not come to hospital if you have any symptoms of coronavirus

Check the latest guidance at: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

 

What to do when you visit

Face covering/masks: When entering all hospitals you must now wear a face covering and/or mask. If you haven’t brought one with you, our security guards at our main entrances can give you a single use mask. If you are unable to do this, unfortunately you will not be able to visit the patient and will be asked to leave. 

Handwashing: When visiting someone in hospital, please wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water when entering and leaving the bay or use the alcohol gel provided.

Social distancing: Please keep a safe distance from other patients, visitors and staff where possible. You may need to follow one-way systems to help us all stay apart. If social distancing cannot be maintained in our ward areas, you may be asked to visit at another time.

Personal belongings: Please bring as few personal belongings with you as possible eg bags, electronic devices, gifts.

Outer clothing: Please remove your outer clothing eg coat or jacket and roll up your sleeves before coming onto the ward.

We understand how difficult it is for our patients, relatives and carers at this time. Thank you for working with us to prioritise the safety of our patients, visitors and staff.

 

Video/phone calls

You can also keep in touch with loved ones by video/phone call rather than coming to visit. Our inpatient wards have access to phones and iPads to support this. Please call the nurse in charge to arrange making contact. You can also send a free patient postcard greeting.