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Parent and family contact with young people at Ellern Mede hospitals is given a high priority and here is how it can continue safely while the UK continues social distancing.

  1. Where patients and parents can safely continue to communicate via technology only, we would encourage them to do so. The ambition of the Ellern Mede team remains to minimise all external visits to the hospitals as much as possible (which to date has worked well).  Everyone wants to avoid the “second spike”.
  2. Per Family visits will be restricted to a maximum of one visit per week by up to TWO parents or family members.
  3. Visits to each hospital site will be limited to a maximum of 4-5 appropriately spaced parental visits per day (6 on weekends).
  4. Visits will be agreed at least 24 hours in advance (48 hours for weekend visits) by the individual Ward Manager; the Centre Manager must be advised of the arrangements (to enable them to coordinate visits as we wish to spread out visits as much as possible).
  5. Visits will be time limited (1½ hour) and social distancing MUST be observed (not within 2 meters) at all times during the visit.
  6. The visiting parent must arrive within 15 minutes of the agreed time and use the intercom system to alert the ward staff they have arrived. (or use the relevant phone number of necessary).
  7. The parent will then be met by an appropriate member of the ward team.
  8. The visiting parent must complete or confirm the health questionnaire and if no health issues are identified, the parent will then have their temperature taken. Any temperature above 37.8 centigrade will be advised and the visit will be abandoned.
  9. Whenever the weather is appropriate and it is safe to do so, visits should take place in the garden areas of Ellern Mede hospitals. An Ellern Mede staff member will be available to support the visit when required.
  10. When the weather or other factors (e.g. following risk assessment) does not allow garden visits the individual hospital’s “designated visiting area” will be used. Again, social distancing MUST be observed (not within 2 metres) at all times during the visit.
  11. When the parent/family member first enters the hospital they must immediately wash their hands thoroughly before going to the visiting area or room.
  12. When the visit is complete, if a room is used, the room should be cleaned with antiseptic wipes or spray by the Ellern Mede housekeeping team or in their absence the care staff team member.
  13. All visits and indeed this protocol will be subject to “no notice” cancellation in the event of e.g. severe staffing shortages or an “outbreak” of COVID-19 amongst patients. In these cases and wherever possible, the Ward Manager or Nurse in Change will immediately contact all parents who are due to visit on that day to alert them of the cancellation of the visit and why.