From Friday, December 21, adult inpatient wards at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) will increase visiting hours, with some offering access at all times.
This development is the result of a recent survey, conducted both in-person and via social media, where patients and the public voted enthusiastically in favour of increasing visiting times. In all, over 1,100 local people took part in the week-long engagement, with 53% of those asked opting for a change from current access times to an extended format running from 8am to 8pm in some areas, and 11am to 8pm in others.
READ MORE: Here are the chemist opening times in Doncaster over Christmas and the New Year
This is a change which has also been long-requested by patients, who often want family, friends or carers with them when they are facing a prolonged stay in hospital, and will mean the following visiting times will be implemented:
Gastroenterology and respiratory wards will adopt visiting hours from 8am to 8pm
Elderly care wards and paediatrics will retain open access at any hour for visitors
All other wards (except Maternity and the Department of Critical Care) will adopt visiting hours from 11am to 8pm.
By making it easier for visitors to be with their loved ones, hospital staff anticipate that there will be an increase in the comfort, dignity and independence experienced by patients throughout their stay.
Agreeing with increasing visiting times one survey participant said: “Visitors should be able to support their loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable. Just ask the family - they will tell you what patients want”, while another stated: “I need to know what to expect when my relative is home and want to be more involved when they are here [at hospital].”
For a number of years, certain wards within the Trust have supported open-access at all times for carers of patients with dementia, as part of ‘John’s Campaign.’ The initiative is all about welcoming carers at all times to support patients living with dementia or experiencing delirium. John’s Campaign encourages ward staff to regard friends, relatives and carers as part of the team, helping them to gain a better understanding of a patients’ life, wich in turn enables clinicians to provide holistic and bespoke care at all times.
READ MORE: This is how the NHS will improve the delivery of health care in Doncaster this winter
By extending visiting times, clinicians at the Trust are hoping to replicate this success on all inpatient wards at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital. Patients concerned about extended access times will be encouraged to complete a ‘This is Me’ document, which guides staff to an individual’s likes, dislikes and preferences for when they are visited.
In a joint statement, Moira Hardy, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, and Mr Sewa Singh, Medical Director, said: “Throughout this engagement, local people told us that restricted visiting times made them feel unsure about their role within a loved one’s care and treatment. By increasing access, many believed they would be able to be more actively involved, supporting staff and empowering patients in recovery or making them more comfortable during a prolonged stay.
“As an organisation it’s important we always look to engage, listen and learn from the experiences of those within our care as well as those indirectly affected – this is just one more example of putting this into positive action. We look forward to welcoming our patient’s friends, family and loved ones at a time which better suits their wishes.”
In 2017/18, DBTH cared for almost 100,000 patients within wards and services.