Spotlight

Guidance for visiting our hospitals and units during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Updated: 11 November 2020

We wanted to update you on the visiting arrangements we have in place at our hospitals and units in Somerset NHS FT in order to keep our patients, our colleagues and visitors safe.

Our family liaison team will contact you within 12 hours (or the next day if outside 09.00-17.00) of your loved one’s admission to our hospital or unit to discuss the best way of helping you to keep in contact during their stay – for example by telephone or video calls. We appreciate that everybody’s circumstances are unique, we want to work with you to stay connected and informed.

Visiting our inpatient areas (such as hospital wards)

We recognise the importance of visiting for everyone and where it is safe to support restricted visiting (booked and arranged in advance) we will do so.

Some examples where we can support restricted visiting include:

  • For patients receiving end of life care
  • For carers of patients with specific needs that require the support of a carer (e.g. patients with dementia)
  • When a visit is required on compassionate grounds
  • A parent or guardian accompanying their child
  • Maternity visiting for a nominated birthing partner – please see section below.

Please agree your visit with the ward team or our family liaison team (01823 344308 or 01823 344406, they are available seven days a week, from 09.00 to 17.00) before travelling to the hospital or unit. We would also ask that when you come to our hospitals or units you avoid using other services, such as cafes and coffee shops, during this time.

If you do visit our hospitals or units we ask that you follow strict infection prevention guidance, such as using hand gel, following social distancing, and wearing a face mask – which you can pick up from any of our main entrances.

We know how important it is for patients to maintain contact with family and friends. If your loved one is unable to use a mobile phone or video call we can still support you to maintain contact with them via our patient messaging service (call or text 07525 968409, along with the name of the patient and their location (if known) and we will pass the message on. Or you can send in a photo by email to: myvoice@somersetft.nhs.uk).

Visiting our children’s unit

Only parents or guardians should visit our children’s unit and neonatal unit and this is limited to one visitor per patient at a time.

Visiting our maternity unit

We have not made any changes to maternity visiting. Current arrangements can be found here.

Attending our emergency department (A&E) and minor injuries units

Patients coming to the emergency department (A&E) at Musgrove Park Hospital or one of the seven minor injuries units in Somerset should please come inside the buildings alone where you possibly can. Children can be accompanied by one adult. If there are exceptional circumstances please speak to the nurse in charge to discuss these.

Visiting our mental health wards

Seeing friends, family and carers is so important to the wellbeing and recovery of our patients and we aim to support their visits to our ward. For this to happen we will always carry out an assessment of each patient’s individual needs to enable the visit.

Attending outpatient appointments

If you are coming for an outpatient appointment we would encourage you to please come alone as we have limited space in our waiting areas. We do understand that there are some circumstances when you may need to bring a friend, family member or carer with you for emotional or physical support so we will try to accommodate this where possible. Please arrive no earlier than five minutes before your appointment

Family liaison team

Please contact our family liaison team on 01823 344308 or 01823 344406 (seven days a week, from 09.00 to 17.00) to book a visit in exceptional circumstances or for help communicating with our wards.

Patient messaging service

We are encouraging people to embrace technology and keep in touch using their own mobile phone to call and message. Our hospitals and units have relaxed the rules around video calls to help keep people connected during this difficult time.

If your loved one is unable to use a mobile phone or video call, our patient messaging service can help you to keep in contact with them. If you wish to send a message to a friend or loved one, just send a text or voicemail to our patient experience team, who will pass on your message in the form of a handwritten card via our clinical teams.

Simply call or text 07525 968409, along with the name of the patient and their location (if known) and we will pass the message on. Or you can send in a photo by email to: myvoice@somersetft.nhs.uk.

Please include: your name, the patient’s name, date of birth, and ward name (if known)

We hope this helps you let your loved ones know you are thinking of them.

Thank you

We know this is a challenging time and we thank you for playing your part to keep our patients, colleagues and our community safe.

We will keep visiting under review and will update this page when we are able to change the arrangements in the near future.