The Northern Trust has set out the new visiting arrangements in place following the announcement by Health Minister, Robin Swann, that changes to visiting across all care settings would come into place from Monday 6 July.
The revised arrangements respect the right of people to visit their loved ones in hospitals and care homes, while balancing the ongoing risk from Covid-19.
Virtual visiting remains the preference and no-one feeling unwell or with symptoms of COVID-19 should visit. Children under 16 are not permitted to visit unless there are exceptional circumstances and it has been agreed by the Nurse in Charge and members of the public who are shielding are also strongly discouraged from visiting.
Visiting times may change as the hospitals manage social distancing so anyone planning to visit should contact the ward in advance to agree a suitable time. Arrangements for Intensive Care Units may be different and visitors are urged to speak to the Nurse in Charge.
Patients or next of kin can nominate two people who are permitted to visit them. Only one visitor is permitted a day and for a maximum of one hour as set out by the Department of Health.
Visitors, and those attending appointments, are asked to bring their own face covering and to wear it at all times. No access will be permitted without a face covering.
Eileen McEneaney, Director of Nursing and User Experience with the Northern Trust, said: “We welcome the opportunity to facilitate visitors back to our facilities and we will rely on visitors and patients to work with us to keep everyone safe. The hospital will have a number of arrangements in place to allow us to keep to the social distancing guidelines and it is important that visitors adhere to these and liaise with the ward in advance of their visit to agree a suitable time.
We would also welcome feedback from our visitors as we implement these new measures which will be kept under review, in line with the principles outlined by the Health Minister.”
Restaurants will remain closed to the public given the short duration of visits and to assist in maintaining social distancing.
The new visiting arrangements bring changes to maternity services. Partners, or a nominated other, can now attend 12 and 20-week scans, the Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit and Fetal Maternal Assessment Unit. Partners are also now permitted to attend during induction of labour and to visit the ward as part of the general hospital visiting arrangements.