Essential visiting only at Forth Valley hospitals as Covid cases in area soar

By Paul T Smith

Rules around visiting patients at hospitals across Forth Valley are being tightened this week, to essential only.

It's after a rise in coronavirus cases in the area and across Central Scotland.

NHS Forth Valley bosses say that essential visiting arrangements will be applied flexibly and compassionately, and each patient’s needs will be considered on an individual basis.

Those providing spiritual care are not considered visitors and will be able to continue to support patients in local hospitals.

Essential visits include: A birth partner to support woman during hospital visits, scans, during and after labour, visits from both parents to support a baby or child in hospital, visits to support a person receiving end-of-life care - to ensure they are able to spend meaningful time with their loved ones in their final days, weeks or months, visits to support someone with a mental health condition such as dementia, or a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed, visits in situations when someone is receiving information about a life-changing illness or treatment and in situations where support from another person is essential for advocacy and wellbeing.

NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Nursing, Professor Angela Wallace, said it had been a very difficult decision to take but was necessary to help protect local patients and staff given the current high levels of Covid-19 across Forth Valley and the rest of Central Scotland.

She added: "This difficult decision was taken following detailed discussions with our infection control, public health, clinical and nursing leads over the last week.

"We understand it will be very disappointing for local patients and families and we will keep these temporary visiting arrangements under regular review.

"We also recognise how important the support of local friends and family is to our patients and staff will do everything possible to help them stay in touch with loved ones through phone and video calls."

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