THE JOURNEY back to normality continues this week, with SWAH now open to visitors once again.
However, while new health guidance means limited visiting is allowed again in hospitals, at care homes it is a different story, with the residential sector reopening on a slower, more phased and individual basis.
In recent months hospital patients faced a lonely stint in hospital, and their families a worrying time at home, with visiting suspended to protect both patients and staff from the virus.
“We recognise that this has been a particularly difficult time for everyone involved,” said a spokesman for the Western Trust.
“We would like to thank everyone for their cooperation and understanding, as well as recognise the vital role our staff have played in providing comfort and reassurance to patients when their families were unable to be by their side.”
Following an announcement from Health Minister Robin Swann last week the Trust has developed new visiting guidelines, which it said will apply in “pre or low surge” situations and which is subject to change at any time, depending on the rate of infection.
Those who are visiting a loved one in hospital should remember there are still tight safety restrictions in place in health settings, and each patient will be limited to two named visitors.
All visitors must wear a face covering, and won’t be allowed into the hospital without one. The public must supply their own, and should not expect the hospital to provide them one.
Visiting time will be from 2-3pm and 4-5pm, to manage hospital footfall, and visits must be prearranged.
Only one person will be able to visit at a time, will last for a maximum of an hour, and visitors must be over 16.
Finally, and most importantly, anyone showing any signs of Covid or any other infection should not visit the hospital, even if their symptoms are mild.
Visiting restrictions have also been relaxed for maternity, with women now allowed to bring a nominated person to scans. However, they must continue to attend other appointments alone. A birthing partner is also now allowed in for a limited time during labour, and for a limited time after the birth.
For full details on the updated guidance for visitors to the hospital visit the Western Health and Social Care Trust’s website or Facebook page.
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