Infection control measures for all visitors
For those visiting a patient in hospital it is important to remember that infection control measures will remain in place, including:
- Maintain physical distancing of 2 metres wherever possible.
- Hand hygiene measures will continue
- All visitors should wear a fluid resistant mask or any other PPE as indicated by the clinical team
- Movement around the hospital will be limited
- No use of patient WCs
- With appropriate infection control procedures in place, visitors will be able to have close contacts such as hand holding.
- There are no time limits to visiting on the whole
- In some cases, bays are not large enough to accommodate 1 visitor per patient at the same time. In this case it would be appropriate to schedule visiting time slots
- Visitors (including those categorised as ‘essential’) must not have symptoms of COVID-19 and must not attend if they are self-isolating for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or have recently returned from a country requiring quarantine*
- Catering facilities will not be available.
- Visitors should not to bring in food parcels, flowers, helium balloons or similar items.
*Permitted if the person quarantining is visiting for End of Life care purposes and as long as they return to quarantining after the visit.
Whilst this guidance outlines the main changes to visiting arrangements, there will likely be specific needs or circumstances where flexibility in approach is required. If this is the case, please speak to nursing staff on the ward. There will be no strict time limits applied to visits.
Due to the need to increase bed numbers, while maintaining safe social distancing for our patients, staff, and visitors we are having to restrict patients to one visitor per person per day.
The visitor should be organised with nursing staff in advance of visiting, where possible. The visitor can be interchanged daily, so for example, a spouse could visit one day, and a daughter, the following day.
There are a number of areas which are exempt from the new visiting arrangements, where visiting is considered to be essential and will continue to be permitted:-
- Maternity - Pregnant women may identify one visitor to accompany them to their scans, antenatal appointments, during in labour on the postnatal/ maternity
- End of Life Care – to visit a person receiving end-of-life care.
- Mental Health / Learning Disabilities - to support someone with a mental health issue, or those with a learning disability or autism where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.
- Children’s Services - to accompany a child in hospital.
This position will be kept under regular review.
Where in-person support is not possible, a patient can be supported by alternatives such as virtual visiting using tablets or mobiles.
Visiting guidelines by department
Maternity department visiting
Labour and birth - One birth partner throughout induction, labour and birth (except during a general anaesthetic). Birth partner may go home and return.
Antenatal - One person can accompany the pregnant woman to all appointments. No children.
Maternity inpatient wards One designated person can visit on the ward and remain with the woman overnight if she is in single room accommodation. The same designated person should visit through the day and stay overnight.
If a woman is in bay (shared) accommodation then any visitor needs to organise their visiting time via the nurse in charge of the ward. We will aim to transfer the woman to home or to single room accommodation as their condition allows.
Neonatal - Both parents only. For long-stay patients (more than seven days) sibling visits must be arranged by appointment.
Paediatrics - Both parents/carers in the amber zone. For children in the green and red zones, please discuss visiting arrangements with the nurse in charge.
Gynaecology Early Pregnancy Clinic and Ward 24
One person can accompany a woman to Early Pregnancy appointments and scans. One person can visit and accompany a woman on ward 24; the visit time for in-patients must be arranged with the nurse in charge.
Visiting to women undergoing gynaecology care on other wards within the hospital will follow the guidance of that ward, usually one visitor. There may be instances where there can be more than one visitor; this must be agreed with the nurse/midwife in charge of the ward.
One parent can accompany their child on the ward when the child is on the “RED” or “GREEN” pathway. Both parents can accompany their child when on the “AMBER” pathway. Parents must wear masks when on the children’s ward. Siblings can visit if the child has an in patient stay of more than 7 days, these visits must be arranged via the nurse in charge of the unit.
All designated visitors are advised to contact the ward or department to arrange visiting times.
NHS Fife operates a non-smoking policy and visitors should not leave to smoke and then return to clinical areas. In addition to the infection control measures for all visitors to our hospitals, the children's ward asks that when parents/carers visit their child they stay within the ward for the duration of their visit to support social distancing and reduce the number of potential contacts with staff and other patients and visitors at our entrances.
We appreciate your continued support to ensure the safety of our patients and you during this time.
Please discuss with the nurse looking after your child if these visiting arrangements will cause you any problems and we will try to support wherever we can.
Self testing prior to visiting
When patients’ loved ones make arrangements to visit, the clinical care teams will point out that optional testing is a valuable way to promote safety and will therefore encourage testing. Universal lateral flow testing is now available for anyone in Scotland either through community testing programmes or home delivery by calling 119 or ordering online. We will draw visitors’ attention to this offer as part of preparations to support the safe re-expansion of wider hospital visiting.