The NHS Forth Valley today confirmed that essential visiting arrangements are being introduced at the Royal Forth Valley Hospital and the four community hospitals in the region.
Essential visits include a birth partner to support pregnant women during hospital visits, exams, during and after labor, visits from both parents to support a baby or child in the hospital, and visits to support someone receiving end-of-life care – to ensure that they are able to spend meaningful time with loved ones during their last days, weeks or months.
People are also allowed to visit people with a mental health problem such as dementia, learning disability or autism, when the absence would cause distress to the patient.
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Visits in situations where someone receives information about a life-changing illness or treatment are also permitted, as are visits where the support of another person is essential for advocacy and well-being.
The NHS Forth Valley said these essential new visiting arrangements will be applied with flexibility and compassion, with each patient’s needs considered on an individual basis.
Those providing spiritual care are not considered visitors and may continue to support patients in local hospitals.
Professor Angela Wallace, NHS Forth Valley Director of Nursing, said it had been a very difficult decision to make but was needed to help protect local patients and staff given the current high levels of COVID -19 in the Forth Valley and the rest of central Scotland.
She added, “This difficult decision was made following detailed discussions with our Infection Control, Public Health, Clinical and Nursing officials over the past week. We understand that this will be very disappointing for local patients and families and we will keep these temporary visiting arrangements under regular review.
“We also recognize how important the support of local friends and family is to our patients and the staff will do everything possible to help them stay in touch with their loved ones through phone and video calls.”