Children, maternity and neonatal guidance
For the purposes of this guidance, a child or young person means every person below the age of 18 years of age as defined in the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child. This guidance covers all young people under the age of 18 regardless of whether they are in children or adult wards.
Children are able to visit adults in hospital and every effort should be made for a child or young person to be able to visit their loved one in hospital safely – for example at end-of-life, when a parent or grandparent is a long-stay patient or has suffered a life-changing or traumatic event.
Each situation should be approached in a person-centred, compassionate way with the benefits of visiting being given equal priority and balanced against the harm caused by separation or the risk of cross-infection.
A child in hospital is entitled to have one or both parents or carers present to support them. A child in hospital should be allowed visits from siblings or other children.
While in nearly all circumstances it should be possible for a child or young person to visit a member of their family, there will be rare and specific clinical circumstances where visits are not possible. For example, when an individual is severely immunocompromised following organ donation or bone marrow transplantation, visits will be restricted as they would be in normal circumstances.
There are many circumstances in which it will be beneficial to a child in hospital’s recovery and for the wellbeing of their siblings for them to have a visit from a brother or sister. Every effort should be made to accommodate visits by other children where that child has a significant relationship to the child in hospital and it is safe to visit.
Maternity and neonatal guidance
Specific guidance for attendance or visits in maternity or neonatal settings is available (PDF) which sets out how this hospital visiting guidance should be applied in these contexts.
If you have feedback on this guidance please email: Annalena.Winslow@gov.scot.
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