Visiting restrictions and how to keep in touch with patients
Visiting our hospitals
To help protect patients and staff from Coronavirus (Covid-19), we have restricted visitors to our hospitals since March 2020.
We understand how important visiting loved ones in hospital is, but please also only request a visit if absolutely essential, and if you meet the criteria below. London is in Tier 4: Stay at Home and we want to do everything possible to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 infection.
We can arrange virtual visits for you, and you can also use our Messages to Loved Ones service.
On Wednesday, 23 December, we updated our rules for visitors, and these are set out in detail below.
These rules will apply until further notice. You should not visit our hospitals if you have Covid-19 symptoms, which are: a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; and/or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
Before the birth, one person may accompany the woman on the antenatal ward from 8am-6pm. One carer/birth partner may accompany her in areas during labour in a single room at any time. After the birth, the same person may care for the woman and baby from 10am-6pm on the ward areas.
Visit the maternity pages on our website for more information.
Paediatric/Neonatal Unit/Paediatric Intensive Care Unit
Paediatric patients are allowed one parent or carer at all times.
End-of-life patients on our Intensive Care Units are allowed up to two visitors a day, although restrictions apply (see below for more information).
End-of-life patients on a ward are allowed up to two visitors per day. Children under 12 who are visiting a dying parent are permitted access provided the ward sister is in agreement. Visits will be by appointment only, and the names of visitors will need to be clearly documented by staff for infection prevention and control purposes.
Patients with specific care needs
Patients with specific care needs (e.g. dementia or other disabilities) are allowed one visitor or carer to visit between 8am-8pm. This visit must be confirmed with the Nurse in Charge for that ward/area, and the visitor or carer will need to complete a Covid-19 screening questionnaire prior to – and on the day – of their visit. This will be provided by staff when you arrive.
Emergency Department patients
Restrictions on Visiting the Emergency Department – Supporting compassionate visiting during COVID-19
Keeping our patients and staff safe is our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so while providing compassionate care for patients and their loved ones is very important to us.
Unfortunately, due to rising numbers of cases in the community and in our hospitals, and limited available waiting area space we have had to limit visiting.
With immediate effect, visitors to the Emergency Department will only be permitted under the following circumstances:
- To spend time with a patient in the final moments of their life
- To accompany a vulnerable patient with a mental health issue, dementia, a learning disability or autism
- To assist with patients communication or provide interpretation
- To support a pregnant person in labour – one birth partner is allowed.
- Only one Parent or Carer to accompany a child or young person
We recognise that this is a difficult situation and we would like to thank you for supporting the safety and care of all of our patients and staff.
Intensive Care Unit (ITU) patients
We have opened additional intensive care beds at St George’s in recent months, as part of our response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
To reduce the risk of infection, we have had to introduce changes to visiting rules in intensive care. The rules are as follows:
- We will permit visitors for ITU patients who are nearing the end of their lives. This includes patients who are donating organs. These visits are limited to one hour, and 2 relatives only. The visits must be agreed in advance with the nurse in charge, and all visitors will need to wear full Personal Protective Equipment (this will be provided by staff).
- We will also permit visitors for ITU patients with additional needs – including those with a learning disability, dementia or communications needs. Visits must be agreed in advance with the nurse in change, and will be risk-assessed to ensure patient, relative and staff safety is maintained at all times.
- All visits must be agreed in advance by the nurse in charge, and all visitors will be asked to complete a pre-visit and on the day Covid-19 screening questionnaire before access to the ward is granted.
Unfortunately, we cannot currently permit visitors for any other patients on ITU, other than those detailed above. However, our teams will talk to family members about their relatives’ care needs, and we will do everything we can to support you – we appreciate the distress that not being able to visit your loved ones can cause.
We will provide families of ITU patients with virtual/ phone communication so you can see your love ones, and also talk to the nursing and medical teams caring for them. We appreciate you will have lots of questions, which we will do our very best to answer.
We understand visiting restrictions are difficult, and we apologise for any distress this might cause. You can send a message to your loved one via our new patient messaging service, find out more here.
Visitors should also be aware that we are now asking everyone visiting our hospitals to wear a face covering (or mask). More information can be found here.
You should not visit our hospitals if you are:
- Unwell; especially if they have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough
- Vulnerable as a result of their medication, e.g. a chronic illness, or if they are over 70.
- No children under 12 should be visiting without the ward sister or charge nurse’s prior permission.
Visitors should keep the time spent in the hospital to a minimum. We would also ask that you go directly to the area you are visiting, and do not visit other areas of the hospital.
Upon entering the ward, visitors will be directed to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. Visitors should do the same on leaving the ward and follow all other guidance given by our staff