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Date: 21 November 2017
Flexible visiting to boost patient experience
Story posted/last updated: 22 June 2017
Flexible visiting has been introduced across all the Trust’s inpatient wards to help aid recovery and provide a more positive experience for patients, relatives and staff.
Since 1 April 2017 all inpatient wards have introduce extended visiting times from 11:00 to 20:00 (formerly 14:30 to 19:30), meaning friends and relatives have more flexibility in when they can visit. This change will be reviewed after three months to ensure the change has delivered the benefits expected.
It is widely recognised that support from family and friends is an important part of any patient’s recovery, and extending our visiting times will allow more flexibility for friends and relatives to visit at a time that suits them, and provides those relatives and carers who wish to play an active role in their loved one’s care more opportunity to do this.
To support the roll-out of flexible visiting, a Visitor Charter has been developed to provide visitors with information on what to expect when visiting the hospital and clear guidance on appropriate behaviour on wards.
To enable care and treatment to continue during these extended visiting hours, there may be occasions when, for clinical or dignity reasons, visitors may be asked to sit in the waiting area or move to another area of the ward for a short period of time.
Philip Norman, Chief Nurse at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re pleased to be able to offer visitors more flexibility.
“We understand that being in hospital can be a very anxious time for both patients and their loved ones and that visits from friends and family can enhance a patient’s recovery.
“Our Visitor Charter sets out expectations so that visitors and staff can support each other in making visiting time a positive experience for our patients.”
Debbie Smith, whose father spent two weeks in hospital with pneumonia, explained how being allowed to visit throughout the day had a positive impact on her family:
“Being able to stay with dad for longer made such a huge difference. At the beginning he was very unwell and confused and I couldn’t have imagined leaving him alone in hospital, I couldn’t have left him – and it never even occurred to me to go.
“We were very grateful that the staff on the ward let us stay and having us around did help him to accept being in hospital and the need to rest. There are certain things that he felt more comfortable asking me to do such as helping him in the bathroom - and us being able to do this for him reduced his anxiety.
“Being present during the doctor’s ward rounds gave us the opportunity to discuss dad’s care with them and help the clinicians to understand dad’s overall health and fitness, especially when he was too ‘out of it’ to answer questions himself. My father is normally a very active man for his age who likes to go for long walk in the country, so providing this context to the doctors and nurses helped them to understand his potential for recovery.
“It wasn’t just my father who benefitted though. My mother, who has her own health issues, was very anxious and upset by the situation so to be able to bring her into the hospital in the mornings meant she was not sat at home all day worrying about dad’s condition. It also meant they got to spend plenty of time together to talk which made the days more ‘normal’ for them.
“I don’t know how we would have coped if we had not had the flexibility to visit throughout the day - there are so many benefits to having extended visiting for families.”
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