New rules are being introduced for people visiting patients on the ward at Swanage Hospital, to help reduce the spread of Covid.
Dorset Healthcare, which runs Swanage Hospital, will now require visitors to take a lateral flow test before visiting and provide proof of a negative result when they arrive.
The ward at Swanage Hospital look out over the new therapeutic garden
New rules will apply to all of Dorset Healthcare’s community hospitals
Following advice from NHS England, the new rules will apply to all of Dorset Healthcare’s community hospitals in Dorset including Alderney (Poole), Blandford, Bridport, Sherborne, Shaftesbury and Weymouth (Westhaven), as well as Swanage. This also applies to all mental health inpatient settings across the county.
Dorset Healthcare says that a lateral flow test is required regardless of a person’s Covid vaccination status.
The move is designed to help limit the spread of the virus to all potentially vulnerable patients and hospital staff.
Swanage Hospital has a dedicated room for relatives visiting those at the end of their life
“We must remain vigilant”
Cara Southgate, Dorset Healthcare’s deputy director of nursing, therapies and quality said:
“We recognise the very important contribution that seeing loved ones makes to the wellbeing of our patients.
“However, while Covid-19 continues to be in circulation, we must remain vigilant and follow guidance which will help protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff.”
Before visiting the hospital, visitors should also:
- Contact the ward to discuss local arrangements
- Remember patients can see only one named visitor
- Be ready to wear personal protective equipment including a face mask (unless they can provide evidence of exemption)
- Follow social distancing and handwashing guidelines
- Limit the amount of belongings they bring
Of course, anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should not visit a healthcare site.
The front door at Swanage Hospital
Virtual visiting available
For those who can’t visit in person, the hospital can arrange a video call to allow people to speak to a friend or relative staying at Swanage Hospital.
Dorset Healthcare says that this has proved very popular during the pandemic, and can be arranged by contacting the ward where the person is staying.
- More about virtual visiting is on the Dorset Healthcare website
- There are separate rules for visitors to Dorset’s acute hospitals in Bournemouth and Poole and Dorchester