Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital visiting

Enabling family support for people in hospital in Scotland.

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Individuals providing support

People should be supported to identify the individuals who will support them and visit them while they are in hospital. This does not mean these are the only people allowed to visit, but they should be considered the main contacts for support.  Flexibility to allow those providing support to change as required to meet patient need is of vital importance. This may be particularly relevant if a person in hospital needs support from different people for a variety of reasons, or if a person who has been providing the main support becomes unwell, needs a rest or is unable to visit. Care should be taken to communicate clearly that people are not having to choose between family members, but rather to identify those people who will provide the main support whilst they are in hospital.

Family and carers involved in the provision of care

It may be beneficial for a family member or a carer to participate in some elements of personal care and support such as at meal times or with personal hygiene, etc. This is of particular importance if receiving care from people with whom the person is less familiar would cause distress. The clinical team should work with the family and carers to enable this to occur. In these instances the family or carer providing support should not be treated as a visitor to the ward. They should also be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment and education to undertake these activities.

Virtual visiting

In the rare circumstances where in-person support is not possible, a person in hospital can be supported via other means such as virtual visiting using tablets or mobiles. However, a virtual approach will not be appropriate for some people and should only be used if in-person is not possible. The first option should always be to facilitate in-person support.


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