Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital visiting guidance

Enabling family support for people in hospital in Scotland.

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Existing protections

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, careful attention to infection prevention and control (IPC) measures around family support still need to be maintained. Key among these will continue to be frequent handwashing and the use of alcohol-based hand rub, wearing face coverings at all times throughout the visit, and adherence to physical distancing of at least 2m in communal areas. As noted above, we expect family members to be able to have close contact, such as holding hands, with the person they are supporting. Current IPC measures taken by staff are deemed acceptable to reduce risk associated with close contact and the same evidence-based assessment approach to this risk should be applied for the family member providing support.

The following measures should be put in place to manage visiting safely and minimise risk:

  • Physical distancing must be observed in all communal areas wherever possible.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times throughout the visit, and existing hand hygiene measures will continue.
  • Lateral flow testing before each visit should be undertaken to ascertain asymptomatic carriage of COVID-19.
  • Movement around other areas must be limited as much as is reasonably possible and communal gatherings in public areas of the hospital must be avoided.
  • No visits should take place if the visitor has symptoms of COVID-19, or is isolating because they have had contact with a person with COVID-19 or for some other reason unless in specific and limited scenarios such as end of life care.
  • Respiratory hygiene remains important, covering the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when sneezing, coughing, wiping or blowing the nose and performing hand hygiene afterwards. These should be disposed of immediately in the bin and hand washing performed immediately afterwards.


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