Visiting patients and appointment restrictions during COVID-19

Visiting patients and appointment restrictions during COVID-19

To reduce the risk to patients, staff and visitors, no visiting will be allowed at NDDH or South Molton Community Hospital except for:

  • If there are specific reasons of safety – Dementia or learning disability where anxiety would be increased significantly.
  • Inpatients under the age of 18 years old – One parent/guardian only (both parents are permitted in the special care baby unit).
  • At outpatient and diagnostic appointments where a patient may need emotional support they can be accompanied by one person from the same household or support bubble.
  • A patient receiving end-of-life care can receive more than one visitor from the same household or support bubble within a 24 hour period.

NDHT maternity visiting and appointment restrictions

  • One partner or designated individual is able to attend the dating scan (at approx 12 weeks) and the anomaly scan (at 20 weeks). They are not able to stay for any subsequent appointments with a doctor or midwife.
  • All other scans, such as growth scans, should be attended alone, though exceptions can be made if we anticipate having to break bad news.
  • If a woman is being induced, they can have a partner or designated individual attend with them between the hours of 10am and 6pm. Outside of these hours our staff will continue to contact partners and ask them to attend the unit if, due to pain or distress, support is required.
  • One partner or designated individual may make an appointment with ward staff to visit Bassett Ward between 10am-1pm or 3pm-6pm.
  • If a woman is being cared for in labour ward or in theatre, they can have one birth partner with them. This is usually when they are in labour, having a caesarean or in the immediate postnatal period.

We understand these restrictions may still be difficult for mums-to-be and their partners, but we’d like to reiterate that if a mum-to-be is being induced and is in pain or distress, we will contact their partner and ask them to attend, regardless of what time of day it is.

Please remember

Do not visit if you or someone in your household has symptoms of Coronavirus.

  • a new, persistent cough
  • a high temperature (37.8 degrees centigrade or higher)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

People should also avoid travelling where possible, and should not travel to or from areas that have been categorised in the very high alert level.

Practical advice when visiting someone in hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

We understand how important visiting loved ones in hospital is but we know that some can feel anxious about coming into the hospital at the current time.

Below is some practical advice to prepare for your visit and what to consider when you are visiting:

  • When you book a visiting appointment our staff will advise you on what to expect when you attend the hospital, what to do on arrival, how long the visiting appointment is and what to do when it is time to leave.
  • Please bring as few personal belongings as possible with you e.g. bags, handbags, electronic devices, gifts and food for the patient.
  • Visitors should remove outer clothing e.g. coat or jacket; sleeves should be rolled up and hands cleaned.
  • In addition to wearing a face covering some visitors may be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Staff will guide and support you if this is the case.
  • Please do not remove your face covering at any time when visiting, for example to kiss relatives.
  • Adequate social distance must be maintained at all times and in all areas of the hospital.
  • We recommend going to the toilet and having had a small drink before visiting to help avoid the need to remove face coverings (or PPE) and put it back on during the visit.
  • Visitors do not need to self-isolate following the visit as by performing hand hygiene and where required wearing PPE they are unlikely to present a risk to those they encounter.
  • Our staff are available to provide any support or comfort during or after the visit, we know this is a difficult time for many people.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Patient property drop off service

We have set up a patient property drop off service so relatives/friends can drop off essential items for their loved ones who are staying in hospital.

This service will run from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 3.30pm (excluding bank holidays) at the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) office on level 2. We are unable to accept belongings outside of these hours.

You may include some of the following items:

  • A pair of PJs or other nightwear
  • Mobile phone/tablet, headphones, kindle and charger
  • Reading glasses
  • Toothbrush, hairbrush and a small number of other bathroom essentials
  • A small comforting personal item, e.g. a photo, book or magazine
  • One change of clothes
  • A pair of non-slip shoes

Items we are unable to accept:

  • Items needing refrigerating or heating
  • Items of value e.g. jewellery/watches
  • We cannot accept large amounts of cash. Please limit the amount of cash to £10
  • Please do not bring large amounts of food/drink due to storage constraints. Only shop bought items in sealed wrappers will be accepted

To use this service please take note of the following process:

  • When preparing belongings please ensure you only pack essential items. These include toiletries, clothing items, a mobile phone, phone charger (We cannot accept frayed cables or cracked appliances)
  • You are welcome to include a letter to your loved one in the bag
  • Only one relative or friend should come on to the site to bring the bag
  • You will be asked to list any items in the bag on a form and to place your bag in a clear bag provided, together with a label showing the patient’s name and ward to assist with the delivery.  You will need to seal the bag with a cable tie which will be provided
  • You will be asked if there is medication within the bag. Please have this information ready
  • A volunteer or member of the Patient Experience Team will deliver the belongings to your loved one on the ward

In addition, the North Devon District Hospital is a smoke and vape free site.  We are unable to accept any related items.

If you have a new continuous cough, high temperature and a change to your sense of smell or taste please do not come to hospital.

Alternatives to visiting

Video calling

If the patient does not have their own device, we can facilitate a call to friends and family in place of a visit. Please speak with the nurse in charge who will be able to arrange this for you. Please note – calls have to be booked in advance and are subject to availability.

Ready to start your arranged video visit?

All you need to do is select the ward below.

Select a ward (please do not enter a waiting room unless you have pre-booked an appointment):


If you would like to send letters, drawings or cards to your loved one you can email them to placing “PATIENT COMMUNICATION” in the subject line and adding the patient’s details to the email. Attachments will be printed and delivered to the patient.

We realise that these times can be distressing for patients and their loved ones, and we are sorry that we must restrict visits to hospital to protect patients and staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for your support and understanding

Correct at November 13, 2020


Last updated: October 16, 2020