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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This information was updated and is correct as of 13 September 2021.

We appreciate how hard it has been to keep in touch with loved ones who are in hospital with the restrictions in place. We'd like to thank you for your support and understanding during this difficult time.

We need to maintain safety for all, ensuring social distancing and other national NHS advice is followed. We will continue to review our visiting arrangements in line with national guidance and the local infection rates.

This guidance is subject to change at short notice so please check this website for updates.

On this page you can find information about:

  • Guidance on face masks
  • Visiting guidance for adult inpatients (except for maternity)
  • Visiting guidance for Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Visiting guidance for maternity services
  • Guidance for attending adult emergency departments at Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital
  • Guidance for attending the emergency department at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children
  • Guidance about outpatients appointments
  • Getting ready to go home
  • Diabetes services during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Share a message with a loved one
  • Share your experiences of our services during COVID-19

We strongly advise hospital visitors to all hospital sites, to carry out a lateral flow test before coming into the hospital. This is for the safety of patients, staff and visitors. Visitors can order lateral flow test kits from the COVID-19 website ( https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests) and then report the test result on the national COVID-19 website (https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result).

Pregnant women and their support people are advised to undertake lateral flow testing twice weekly during pregnancy and test within 24 hours before an appointment. Pregnant women and their support people are able to  order tests online to self-administer at home and report your COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result on the main COVID-19 website.

Please do not attend if you have any COVID-19 symptoms/have tested positive or you've been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Guidance on face masks at our healthcare services continues

Everyone accessing or visiting our healthcare services must continue to wear a face mask and follow social distancing rules from 19 July 2021.

The national guidance for healthcare settings remains unchanged. This means anyone coming into hospital before and after 19 July 2021 must continue to:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) which are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

These measures are important so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, and to help protect our staff and patients by reducing the risk of infection.

Thank you for helping us keep our patients, staff and community safe. 

 

Visiting guidance

Visiting restrictions are in place at our hospitals. The current guidance can be found below. 

Adult inpatients (except for maternity)

Visits permitted are:

  • One nominated visitor per patient for the duration of stay.
  • Limited to one close family contact or someone important to the patient, including a familiar carer.
  • The nominated visitor to visit for one-hour per day during the hours of 11am-7pm.

Exceptions can be made under compassionate grounds or if the patient has specific needs that require the support of a carer, including vulnerable patients with dementia or learning disabilities, patients with a key carer, and patients receiving end-of-life care.

How do I arrange a visit?

  • Contact the ward after 2pm to arrange a visit for the following day or a later date.
  • You will be asked some questions when you get in touch to decide if a visit can go ahead. These questions will be asked every time you visit to ensure everyone's safety.

 

You will not be able to visit if you have any COVID-19 symptoms / have tested positive

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You will not be able to visit if you've been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

 

It may be that the ward has to restrict or postpone your visit if there are too many visitors, to allow for social distancing and the safety of all. We apologise in advance if this occurs.

Anyone coming into the hospital must:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) which are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

If you are considered at 'high risk', visiting is not recommended and you do so at your own risk.

Before your visit, a member of our ward staff will discuss your visit and what you can expect.

On the day of your visit staff will ask the following questions, as part of a safety check:

  • Are you feeling unwell?
  • Do you have a new/continuous cough?
  • Have you had any sickness or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours?
  • Have you noticed a change in your temperature?
  • Have you noticed a change in your normal sense of taste or smell?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone suspected as having, or who has tested positive for, COVID-19 in the past 10 days? 
  • Have you been asked to self-isolate for any reason (e.g. travel from a country requiring quarantine)?

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children

The following areas permit two parents/carers to be at bedside:

  • Seahorse Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
  • All High Dependency Units (HDU), within Daisy, Caterpillar and Dolphin Ward.
  • Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).

Two parents/carers are also permitted for:

  • Patients on the designated rehabilitation pathway in neurosciences.

Please note two parents/carers are permitted in these areas only. These two visitors need to be the same named visitors for the duration of your child's stay.

Parents/carers moving from one of the above areas to a different ward or area will need to follow the one parent/carer visitor restrictions (a maximum of two parents/carers can be named as visitors but only one will be allowed on the ward at a time) and handover between parents/carers must take place outside of the hospital.

Those coming into our children's emergency department, outpatient departments and all other wards/areas can be accompanied by one parent, immediate family member or carer at any one time.

Please speak to the ward/area manager or the nurse in charge if you have any questions about visiting restrictions or if you or your child has specific needs that need to be taken into consideration. Exceptions may be possible under the discretion of the ward/area manager or the nurse in charge.

Siblings are not permitted in the hospital except in exceptional circumstances.

You must not visit in any circumstances if you have a new continuous cough, high temperature or have a loss/change in your normal sense of smell or taste. 

Anyone coming into the hospital must:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) if you are aged 11 or over. Surgical face masks are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

Please speak to the nurse in charge if you have any questions about wearing face masks or if your child has specific needs that need to be taken into consideration, such as a child who has a disability and needs the support of a carer.

Maternity services

UPDATED 13 September 2021 - If you are having your baby at St Michael's Hospital or Ashcombe Birth Centre, please view the current guidance for maternity services. 

 

Attending our emergency departments

Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital emergency departments

Those coming to our emergency departments at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Weston General Hospital are asked to attend alone, with a very small number of exceptions at the discretion of the nurse in charge or a consultant. People who are there to support a patient are not counted as a visitor, such as those accompanying:

  • 16/17 year old patients (or any patient under the age of 18 attending Weston General Hospital emergency department).
  • Vulnerable patients (a vulnerable  patient is someone who is or may be for any reason unable to take care of themselves, or is unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation).
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care.
  • Patients who have dementia, a learning disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a diagnosed mental health condition, where not having someone else present would cause the patient to be distressed.
  • Patients with a disability or impairment who cannot attend on their own or require additional support to access services.

Where a visitor has been permitted, it will be limited to one person to accompany the patient, and they must have no COVID-19 symptoms.

Anyone coming into the hospitals must:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) if you are aged 11 or over. Surgical face masks are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

If you are in any doubt or need to make additional arrangements to support your particular needs please speak to a member of staff.

Bristol Royal Hospital for Children emergency department

Those coming into our children's emergency department can be accompanied by a maximum of one family member, friend or carer. Those accompanying a child into the department must have no COVID-19 symptoms.

Anyone coming into the hospital aged over 11 must:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) if you are aged 11 or over. Surgical face masks are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

Please speak to the nurse in charge if you have any questions about wearing face masks or if your child has specific needs that need to be taken into consideration, such as a child who has a disability and needs the support of a carer.

 

Outpatient appointments

Please continue to attend your hospital appointments unless you are advised otherwise. You don't need to call to check that a booked appointment is going ahead. We will be in touch if anything changes with your care.

However, please be aware of the following information ahead of your appointment:

  • Please come to your appointment alone unless you need a carer or require emotional support.
  • Please arrive no earlier than 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Less seating capacity means you may be asked to wait outside or in your car.
  • Please leave the building promptly after your appointment.

 Anyone coming into the hospital must:

  • Clean your hands before entering and leaving the building and use the hand sanitiser outside each ward, department or area.
  • Wear a surgical face mask (unless exempt from doing so) if you are aged 11 or over. Surgical face masks are available at all hospital entrances. Guidance around exemptions is available on the Government website. Please notify us on attendance if you are exempt from wearing a face mask. The Trust will endeavour to make reasonable adjustments, if appropriate.
  • Give others space. Continue to follow the maximum room and lift capacity advice.

If you are in any doubt or need to make additional arrangements to support your particular needs please speak to a member of staff.

 

What support is available while I'm waiting for planned hospital care? 

Please view the BNSSG website for advice and support if you are waiting for a routine (planned) operation or procedure.

 

Getting ready to go home

Health and care agencies across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are working together to try to ensure people are able to leave hospital as soon as they are medically well enough. Our priority is ensuring people are discharged safely to continue their recovery and our teams will discuss with individuals and a family member if they wish, the details of their discharge once the doctor has advised they are well enough to leave hospital. Find out more.

 

Diabetes services during the coronavirus pandemic

The Sirona care & health website has details of  services for people with diabetes, including how to contact the diabetes community services for advice and guidance. The site also contains resources with advice and guidance for  dealing with diabetes during the coronavirus outbreak.

Diabetes UK are also urging parents not to let coronavirus fears stop them from seeking medical help if they're worried their child is showing the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes.   Read their news story to find out more.

 

Share a message with your loved one in hospital

We know it is important for our patients to keep in contact with family and friends and we will support them where possible to make use of any telephone or video calls so they can keep in contact with their loved ones.

But it is also important that we look at other ways we can help people keep in touch and we have a Message to My Loved One service which gives people a chance to try something a bit different to the normal routine methods of communication at a distance.

The Message to My Loved One service is being run by UHBW's patient experience team with the support of Trust Voluntary Services and allows people to send in messages via email or a dedicated phone line, which will then be printed and delivered to patients.

Messages received by 11am each day, Monday to Friday, will be delivered that day to inpatients in our hospitals.

If you would like to send a message to a loved one in hospital please email messagetomylovedone@uhbw.nhs.uk or call 0117 342 1561 for Bristol hospital sites or 01934 881394 for Weston General Hospital.

Share your experiences of our services during COVID-19

We want to hear your experiences of our services during Covid-19. We hope your experience has continued to be a positive one, but if you have ideas about how we could do things better, please let us know by completing this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/VWQW25M

 

Thank you for helping us keep our patients, staff and community safe.