The Infection Prevention and Control team at Mater Private Network aims to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among staff and patients in all departments in the hospital or off site.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the community remains high; therefore, we all must be vigilant and compliant with the infection prevention and control protocols put in place to reduce these risks. To date, we have managed to combat COVID-19 and all other infections through a multi-factorial approach including rigorous screening of patients and limiting access only to essential service providers and patient visitors. All visitors must be screened at the department level using COVID-19 screening questionnaire.
All visitors to Mater Private Network must adhere to directions on essential infection prevention and control practices including maintaining social distance (in so far as appropriate to their purpose), mask use, respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene. Please note visitors may be asked for proof of COVID-19 Vaccination.
For Patients and Visitors
- A risk assessment should take account of the overall care needs, rights and wishes of patients, the risk of severe COVID-19 for that patient, and the current incidence of COVID-19 in the surrounding community, to manage risks associated with visiting.
- The ward Clinical Nurse Manager/s must be informed in advance if visitors are expected.
- All visitors must be screened by relevant department staff every time they come to visit.
- All visitors must adhere at all times to Mater Private Network infection prevention and control policies.
- Visitors should not interact socially with other visitors, or with patients other than the person they have come to visit.
- Visits should generally occur away from mealtimes.
- Visits should only occur in the bed space of the patient they have come to visit.
Frequency of Visiting and Number of Visitors
- Social visits: if the patient’s length of stay is less than five days, to protect patients and staff it is helpful that social visits are avoided during their hospital stay.
- Critical circumstances or compassionate grounds*: two visitors are allowed at a time with no limit on duration or frequency of visits.
- Routine visit/ patient’s request in the absence of critical circumstances or compassionate grounds: if the patient’s length of stay is greater than five days, one designated person is allowed three to four routine visits per week (15-20 minutes duration each time).
- Accompanying person (parent/guardian/carer) in children’s services: one accompanying person should be supported to be with a child during their hospital admission or other hospital attendance. Parents/guardians/carers may rotate the role of accompanying person if necessary.
*e.g., critical, and compassionate circumstances:
- Circumstances in which end of life is imminent.
- Circumstances in which a patient is significantly distressed or disturbed and although unable to express the desire for a visit, there is reason to believe that a visit from a significant person may relieve distress.
- Medically vulnerable patient.
- When there is an exceptionally important life event for the patient (for example death of a spouse or birthday).
- When the visitor may not have another opportunity to visit for many months /years or at all (for example because they are leaving the country or are themselves approaching end of life).
- A person nominated by the patient expresses concern that a prolonged absence is causing upset or harm to a patient.
- Other circumstances in which the judgement of the medical or nursing staff, registered health or social care professional, spiritual advisor or advocate acting for that the patient, is that a visit is important for the person’s health or sense of well-being.
Outpatient Visiting Policy
In line with national guidelines updated on 1/11/2021
Wherever possible, only the patient should attend the appointment.
A nominated support person can only attend the appointment with the patient if they are medically vulnerable (e.g., patients with cognitive impairments or dementia, patients with severe mobility issues, legally blind/people with hearing difficulty, children under 18 years old), or for compassionate reasons such as disclosure of new news/ bad news that has significant impact on the life and health of patient.
"Since any person who accesses an acute hospital or similar setting may unintentionally introduce COVID-19, the number of people who access acute hospitals should be limited as much as is reasonably practical. Those patients who feel able to manage without being accompanied or visited during their time in hospital should be encouraged to do so, particularly if they are spending a short time in hospital."
For further information: COVID-19 Guidance on Access to Acute Hospitals for Nominated Support Partners, Accompanying Persons, Visitors and External Service Providers - www.hpsc.ie
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