ONLY one visitor per patient per day at hospitals is allowed under new guidelines revealed by health chiefs on Thursday because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And people are being asked to attend outpatients appointments alone.
The Department of Health in Northern Ireland issued ‘advice on hospital and other care setting visits’.
A press release said: ‘Health and social care services are coming under growing pressure due to the increase in cases of coronavirus.
‘We expect normal business will not be possible as we move into the next phase of this pandemic.
‘Unfortunately, that may include some restrictions on visits to hospitals, care homes and other care settings.
‘It is important to emphasise that there is no blanket ban on visits to hospitals or other care settings at this stage.
‘It is fully accepted that for many families and patients, visits are essential and important to patient wellbeing.
‘Given the particular risks from coronavirus, hospitals and other providers have to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of patients and staff.
‘People with underlying health problems are at particular risk, which is why hospital environments and care homes need to take particular care.
‘Everyone is therefore asked to follow some basic common sense guidelines:
- Do not visit if you are unwell yourself.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after visiting and use the hand sanitiser gel provided.
- Ask yourself if your visit is essential.
- One adult visitor per day only, unless in exceptional circumstances and following discussion with the ward sister or equivalent.
- Attend outpatients either alone or only accompanied by one adult.
- Check in advance and follow any localised arrangements which hospitals and other care settings have put in place.