Visiting times extended after successful ward pilot
Northampton General Hospital is extending its ward visiting times after a pilot scheme demonstrated it had benefits for patients, visitors, and staff.
From Monday, September 11, visiting times will be extended to 11am-8pm at all of Northampton General Hospital’s main wards with two visitors allowed per visit.
Director of Nursing, Midwifery, and Allied Health Professionals, Nerea Odongo, said: “Visiting is a very important part of the patient experience. Seeing family and friends helps to boost a patient’s mood and helps them to recover.
“Being in hospital, sometimes for extended periods, can be quite difficult, even traumatic, for some people and we recognise how important visiting is to the patient experience.
“Clearly earlier in the Covid-19 pandemic we had to restrict visiting, in line with Government guidance, but we have been extending visiting hours over the last two years.
“We carried out a pilot scheme to see if extending hours even further would have benefits and it has.”
Extended visiting times, from 11am to 8pm daily, have been on trial at Allebone, Benham, Brampton, Head and Neck and Abington wards since August 1 and Holcot and Knightley wards from August 14.
This was done to improve the care experience and because cases of Covid-19 have significantly reduced and the strains currently circulating have been milder.
The extended ward visiting has been overseen and closely monitored by the hospital’s infection prevention and control team.
Associate Director of Infection Prevention & Control, Holly Slyne, said: “We have trialled extended visiting on seven of our 33 wards and have had really positive feedback from the nursing teams, visitors and patients.
“We are seeing better communication between patients, families, and our staff, in terms of treatment and discharge plans.
“We are also seeing patients in a better mood, and, for example, eating more lunch with their loved one being there.
“Having visiting spread out over a longer period of time means there are no queues to enter wards at the opening of visiting and we have found no additional interruptions to clinical interventions such as medication rounds.”
The hospital is asking family members to communicate with each other to ensure they plan their visits during the allocated visiting time and not to turn up together in large groups. It is continuing to ask that children under five do not visit.
In the event a ward is closed to visiting due to Infection Control Guidelines visiting may only be able to continue in exceptional circumstances on compassionate grounds. Visitors should contact the ward and discuss any visiting arrangements with the nurse in charge.
Separate, and often more flexible, arrangements are already in place for maternity, critical care, paediatrics, and end-of-life care.
Posted on Monday 11th September 2023