Strict new guidelines for visitors came into force at Altnagelvin Hospital yesterday.
Everyone will have to wash their hands or use alcohol hand rub both before and after visiting.
Visitors are also asked not to sit on the patient’s bed or touch wounds, drips, drains or patient’s notes, or leave personal belongings on the bed. They should avoid visiting the hospital if they are feeling unwell, particularly if they have diarrhoea and/or vomiting; have coughs, colds or flu-like symptoms; or have any infectious condition such as chickenpox or mumps.
Visiting hours will now be between 3pm and 4pm and 7pm and 8.30pm (adult wards).
Alan Corry-Finn, Western Trust Director of Primary Care and Older People’s Services and Executive Director of Nursing, said: “The policy has been developed to promote the health and wellbeing of patients and has an important role in protecting against healthcare associated infections.
“Observing the visiting times and the requirement of no more than two visitors to a patient at any one time are important aspects of the policy.
It is not being suggested that only two people would visit a patient during visiting times but that people would take turns during the designated times and that there would only be two visitors at the patient’s bedside at any one time.
“There may be exceptional circumstances when visiting outside of these hours will need to be agreed with the nurse managing the ward.
Due to the circumstances of patients being treated within intensive care unit/high dependency unit, children’s ward, neonatal unit, special care baby unit and maternity department, different visiting arrangements for family will apply.”