Visiting and keeping in touch

COVID-19 visiting restrictions

Updated Friday 18 March 2022

Following changes to the national guidance earlier this week, new visiting rules are now in place for our hospitals. Please see these below.

  • Where possible visiting is now in place between 9am and 8pm daily for all our inpatient wards, for up to two people at a time, not including a carer if the carer is required to stay, on weekdays and weekends.
  • It is not necessary to pre book an appointment to visit, but where possible visitors must undertake a lateral flow test prior to the visit and be able to show, when asked, that they tested negative. Where possible, a new lateral flow test should be taken, with a negative result, for each day of visiting. 
  • At the start of each visit all visitors will complete a Covid risk assessment with a member of staff in the clinical area in order to confirm they do not have symptoms of Covid-19.

 

Number of visitors

A patient may receive different visitors throughout the day. The number of visitors in each bay should not exceed half the number of patients i.e. for a bay of six there should be no more than three visitors. The number of visitors allowed in a bay will be dependent on the size of the space and patient group. It is ultimately up to the Nurse-In-Charge to decide what is safe for our patients, staff and visitors and they will ask visitors to leave if necessary.

Infection prevention and control measures such as mask wearing and regular hand washing remain in place. If you are experiencing Covid symptoms you must not visit our hospitals.

All visitors will be provided with a hospital-grade surgical mask on entry - please make sure you wear this over your nose and mouth at all times.

 

Please do not visit if you have symptoms of COVID-19, including a:

  • High temperature 
  • New, persistent cough 
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home and organise a test; members of your household should also self-isolate.

For the latest guidance and advice about Coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

If you come to visit a friend or relative there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Visiting times on wards can vary. Please check in advance by visiting our ward directory or by calling 020 8296 2000 for St Helier or 01372 735735 for Epsom and asking for the relevant ward
  • The medical care of patients comes first so please be aware that some restrictions apply to visiting hours
  • We are happy for children to visit the hospital, but in some areas this may not be possible, please check in advance by calling the ward
  • Please do not sit on the beds; sometimes it seems a natural thing to do, especially if the patient is sitting, but it can be an infection risk in a hospital.

Phoning inpatients

Patients can call for free from the Hospedia terminals to 01, 02, 03 telephone numbers . Without paying any fee, patients can receive phone calls on a personalised phone number. All they need to do is register their details to get started. By registering, they get their own phone number to give to friends and family. Friends and family call the number the patient gives them and they will be connected directly to the patient. This is a 07 phone number so charges apply for people calling in.

We would like to thank all patients and visitors for their support, patience and co-operation. We appreciate these restrictions and measures will cause concern but our focus is to maintain patient safety and prevent the spread of infection. If you’d like further information, please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at est-tr.PALS@nhs.net.

'Letters for loved ones' - helping people stay connected

Families, friends and carers can use our Letters For Loved Ones service to send messages and photographs to their loved ones in our hospitals (St Helier, Epsom, Dorking, Leatherhead, NEECH, and Molesey). Simply email your items to esth.lettersforlovedones@nhs.net. As well as the patient’s name, it will help us if you can also provide their date or year of birth and the ward they are on. This service is completely free of charge.

If you need your message to be read out to your loved one, or you have any other special requests, please let us know. Click this link Special requests [pdf] 420KB to find out more how we can accommodate these.

Our Patient Experience and Partnership Team will print out your items, laminate them, and ensure that they are taken to the bedside of your loved one. Either a member of the Team or a member of ward staff will give your message to your loved one to read or, if required, read it out to them. Where practicable, they will display favourite family photographs around your loved one’s bedside.

You can email your messages and photographs to us in any way you chose. Click this link Tips and ideas [pdf] 443KB  for some useful suggestions.

To get an idea of what will be delivered to your loved one’s bedside, click this link Example of a prepared LFLO [pdf] 580KB .

We deliver messages Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. If the situation is urgent, we will do our best to get your message to your loved one as soon as we can.

If you have any further questions regarding this service, please contact us via esth.lettersforlovedones@nhs.net or call our Patient Experience and Partnership Team on 0208 296 4325. Please leave a message if we are unavailable to take your call.

Virtual Visiting’ – helping patients stay connected with loved ones

We now have our Virtual Visiting service back up a running following a recent upgrade to our tablets..

If you would like to arrange a Virtual Visit, which will enable you to speak and see your loved one, please contact the relevant ward to get this arranged.  Please find the relevant contact numbers for each ward here: ward contacts [xlsx] 20KB

Whilst the wards will make every effort to arrange this as soon as possible they will be busy during the festive season so it may take a couple of days for them to arrange this.

Alternatively, You can also email a message or letter to the ward or esth.lettersforlovedones@nhs.net and we will ensure the letter is shared with them as soon as we can.

 

Here is some useful information to prepare your visit:

Getting to the hospital

Directions, travel information and details about car parking can be found in plan your journey.

Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in any hospital building or on hospital grounds. We ask all patients and visitors to go off site to smoke.

Mobile phones

Please switch off your mobile phone in the hospital. Mobile phones can interfere with equipment. We therefore appreciate your co-operation in going outside the building to make any calls on mobile phones.

Flowers

If you would like to bring flowers for a relative or friend in hospital, please check with staff on the ward first - flowers are not allowed in some areas of the hospital as the water in vases can be an infection risk. Please check our ward directory for further infomation.

Photography

Out of courtesy to other patients and visitors, photography is not allowed in any part of the hospital without permission. Please ask the ward sister or matron if you wish to take any photographs. Mobile phones should not be used to take photographs where the use of mobile phones is forbidden.

Infection control and prevention

Infection prevention and control is one of our top priorities. Please help us to stop the spread of viruses by:

  • Wash your hands or use alcohol rub when entering the building and as you go into the ward or department

  • Wear the surgical mask provided at all times
  • Please keep a distance from other people
  • Follow directional signs and one way routes
  • Sit on a chair, not the bed, otherwise you may transfer bacteria.

Please do not visit if you have any signs of infection such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, a cold, rash or skin infection.

If the person you are visiting is being nursed in isolation in a single room or bay, please contact the nurse in charge to find out if there are any precautions you need to take. In general visitors do not need to wear protective clothing such as gloves or aprons, but please do wash your hands when leaving the room or bay.

Read more about infection control.

Key contacts

Check ward visiting times in advance by checking our online ward directory or by calling 020 8296 2000 for St Helier or 01372 735735 for Epsom and ask for relevant ward.

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