THERE are no restrictions on time or numbers when people are visiting NHS Forth Valley patients receiving end-of-life care.

The change comes as hospital visiting arrangements have been updated by the health board this week with the situation to be kept under review.

As part of the update, NHS Forth Valley said patients will continue to be able to have at least one visitor at a time and up to two people for essential visits, including visits to support people with dementia, learning disabilities and autism.

The health board said there will be some flexibility on the timing and duration of visits wherever possible.

Women will be able to have one person accompany them to antenatal appointments and maternity scans as well as up to two birth partners to provide support during labour.

One birth partner and a designated visitor will also be able to visit after the birth.

It is a move toward reinstating pre-Covid-19 arrangements, seeking to strike a balance between supporting families while keeping everyone safe.

Senior charge nurses and their teams will continue to provide guidance to visitors and anyone wishing to visit is asked to contact the relevant ward in advance to make a planned visit.

Visitors will still be asked to provide their contact details for Test and Protect monitoring and are also asked not to bring additional family and friends with them unless they are a carer accompanying a visitor, a parent accompanying a child or visiting someone who is receiving end of life care.

Family members of friends who cannot visit in person can continue to use video and phone calls to help stay in touch and ward staff can help organise virtual visits if required.

Professor Angela Wallace, director of nursing at NHS Forth Valley, said: “We know how much patients benefit from seeing friends and family and these arrangements are designed to strike the balance between supporting visits while keeping patients and staff as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic.

“We will keep these arrangements under review and hope to extend them further as soon as we can. In the meantime, I would like to thank local families for their ongoing patience and support as we work towards reinstating our previous visiting arrangements.”

Visitors are strongly recommended to have a Voluntary Lateral Flow Test prior to visiting and then undertake these twice per week. 

They must wear a surgical face mask at all times during their visit rather than a fabric face mask or covering.

Supplies of these masks are available at main hospital receptions.

Hand sanitiser must also be used and visitors must maintain physical distancing during their visit.

Anyone who is feeling unwell, is a close contact of a confirmed case or has been asked to self isolate for any reason should not visit a hospital until they have completed the self isolation period.
Those in doubt should check with staff before their visit.