Visiting times are changing from 1st June 2010 at St Peter’s Hospital, as part of a pilot to help provide a more restful environment for patients while they are in hospital.

From 1st June the Trust will be piloting new ‘evening only’ visiting during the week (6.00 – 8.00 pm), with more relaxed visiting on Saturdays and Sundays (2.30 – 8.00 pm). This will give patients more recovery time and will also help clinical staff give the best possible care. The proposed new times will also help with congestion on the hospital sites during the week, particularly with parking, which is of great concern to patients and visitors alike.

The pilot will not apply to visiting times at Ashford Hospital which will remain as they currently are.

Trust Chief Nurse Caroline Becher said: “We know from what our patients and staff are telling us, that we need to create a better environment for rest and recovery for our patients. After much consideration and debate, we have decided to trial new visiting times in most of our wards at St Peter’s Hospital, allowing evening only visiting during the week with longer and more relaxed time for visitors at weekends. Creating more protected rest time will also support our staff in being able to give patients the right care at the right time, without interrupting patients during valuable visiting time.

We know that for many patients – for example those recovering from a serious illness such as a heart attack or stroke – a good rest after lunch will have a direct impact on their recovery and many need this valuable time for additional sleep.

However, we also recognise how valuable visiting times are for patients and how seeing your loved ones also has a direct impact on your recovery. That’s why we are suggesting extended visiting times at the weekend, and also visiting in the afternoons by arrangement for those who may find coming to hospital difficult – or even impossible – in the evening. The last thing we want to do is prevent visitors coming. This is about trying to find the right balance for all concerned.

We are also introducing a better way for visitors to meet medical staff when they wish to discuss their loved one’s care and condition, which can be done on an appointment basis.”

Visitors may still visit in the afternoons by arrangement (with Matron/Nurse-in-Charge or Ward Manager), particularly in the following circumstances:

  • Visiting critically ill patients
  • Who feel uncomfortable driving at night
  • Those living far away
  • Those who are reliant on public transport
  • Disabled visitors who are reliant on others
  • Parents who need childcare cover
  • Those who work when the new visiting times would apply.

The new times will not apply to Maternity, Paediatrics (children’s wards), Intensive Care and the Trust’s Medical Assessment Unit.

Anyone visiting patients at either Ashford Hospital or St Peter’s Hospital who is not sure of the visiting times that apply to their ward should contact either the Matron, Ward Manager or Nurse-in-Charge. The Trust is carrying out a detailed consultation with patients, visitors and staff on the new times. Once the trial period is over (31st August 2010), the Trust will make a decision on the way forward depending on the outcome of the consultation.

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