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Addenbrooke’s Hospital stops all visits to protect patients and staff

Addenbrooke’s Hospital has taken the “difficult decision” to stop people from visiting patients to protect patients and staff.

Addenbrooke's Hospital - entrance to the Addenbrooke's Hospital site off Hills Road. (32371970)
Addenbrooke's Hospital - entrance to the Addenbrooke's Hospital site off Hills Road. (32371970)

The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop rapidly and follows similar actions taken by hospitals across the country.

There are some exceptions to the rule:

  • One parent is permitted to attend with a child under 18.
  • One parent will be allowed to be with a child under 18 on the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
  • For the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) one parent can visit each day for two hours at a designated time either in the morning, afternoon or evening.
  • Parents should phone the room in the morning or the day before to arrange their slot for the day.
  • No partners are able to attend antenatal appointments, fetal and maternal medicine, or ultrasound scans.
  • A birthing person may be accompanied by one named birthing partner but only during labour.
  • All other maternity visits will stop at all inpatient areas, including the antenatal and postnatal ward.
  • Where carers are needed to ensure the safe care of a patient on the ward such as those with dementia, delirium or learning difficulties, the decision to admit one carer will be authorised by the nurse in charge/ward leader and will be initially restricted to one hour.
  • Anyone who falls into this category must wear their carer’s passport which is available on the wards.
  • One person will be allowed to accompany a patient to A&E but if the decision is made to admit the patient to a ward, they will not be able to go with them.

There are additional visitor restrictions in place for the hospital’s intensive care units and for patients receiving end of life care.

A statement released by the hospital said: “We have taken the very difficult decision to suspend routine face-to-face visiting by families of patients in Addenbrooke’s intensive care units. Our sole focus in taking this decision is the safety of our patients, families and loved ones, and our staff.

“The number of coronavirus patients in the intensive care units is increasing; we face an urgent need to restrict the spread of the infection and keep patients and staff safe.

“This means that families of patients on both the John Farman ICU (JFICU) and Neurosciences & Major Trauma Critical Care (NCCU) will not be able to visit in person.”

Relatives will be able to phone the intensive care unit and speak to the nursing staff to receive up to date information.

Medical staff will speak to relatives via telephone to update them. In order to try to protect nurses’ and doctors’ time, the hospital is asking families to identify one member as the spokesperson for phone calls and discussions with staff.

Where possible, relatives will be able to speak to patients via phone or communicate with them via methods such as FaceTime.

A patient who is receiving end of life care, but who is not on a critical care ward will be allowed a visit from one person, for one hour only.

The statement continued: “We know that this is an incredibly difficult time and we know that this decision will be distressing for many – ourselves included. But by taking these difficult decisions, we can save lives.

“Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep each other safe – patients, staff and families. Nothing matters to us more.

“We will continue to review our visiting policy as the situation regarding COVID-19 develops.”

Any members of the public visiting the hospital will need to use a buzzer at the entrance and will be asked by security why they wish to enter.

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