Following the further easing of lockdown and new guidance on how to protect patients, visitors and staff, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been able to offer increased opportunities for visiting on its wards.
Patients will now have the opportunity to see their loved ones, however some LPFT wards are not able to offer visits on the premises at this time. Instead, there will be a focus on using outdoor spaces and appropriate patient leave to help facilitate visiting, as well as the continued use of technology such as video calling and messaging.
The Trust recognises that enabling contact with loved ones and family is an important part of patients' recovery and wellbeing, so whilst visiting cannot be facilitated on all wards, alternative arrangements can be made.
In older adult mental health and dementia services, visiting is available at weekends, by appointment only and with one visitor at a time. Where possible, visits will take place in an outside space, with access to a room off the ward in adverse weather or where outdoor visits are not possible. Family and friends should contact the ward to pre-book appointments and discuss local arrangements.
Adult mental health services will continue to encourage patients to spend time with family and friends whilst on leave from the ward to minimise visitors to the units. Where patients aren’t able to access appropriate leave, the team will support visits and contact with family and carers on site.
As with all healthcare settings, anyone visiting will be asked to wear a face covering during their time on the ward, wash their hands on arrival and maintain social distancing of two metres. Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus should not visit, and instead should self-isolate and access testing as per the government’s guidance.
Chris Higgins, Director of Operations at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, explained he was happy that visiting for patients could resume.
“Lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, even more so for those isolated away from family and friends. Relationships and social contact is a key pillar in patient recovery so we wanted to find ways for face to face visiting to resume as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, due to the physical environment on many of our wards, we would not be able to facilitate visiting safely and the wellbeing of our patients and staff remains paramount. We have found suitable alternative ways for patients to see visitors whilst following strict social distancing measures; however I would still encourage people to continue to use digital technology to keep in contact where possible.
“I would like to thank all of our teams for their continued care for patients during this time and for ensuring that patients, carers and family have been able to stay in touch as much as possible using technology.”
If you would like more details on how to visit your loved ones on a specific ward, please visit the Trust’s website www.lpft.nhs.uk or contact the ward directly to discuss.
Family and friends who are unable to visit can still get in touch using the Trust’s patient postcard scheme. Anyone who would like to send a postcard to a patient can simply email the dedicated carers email address at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a message and the full name and date of birth of the patient, as well as the ward where they are staying. Messages can also be transcribed over the phone by calling 07966 834977, Monday-Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm.