Visiting Hours Extended at Forth Valley Hospitals

Flexible visiting hours are to be introduced in Forth Valley hospitals to enable family and friends to visit patients at more convenient times. The new approach means that from March 3lst 2014, people will be able to visit their loved ones as follows:

General Inpatient Wards at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, and our four Community Hospitals – Falkirk, Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Bo’ness – 11.30am – 8.00pm, 7 days a week.

Visiting times for inpatient Mental Health Wards at Forth Valley Royal Hospital have also been extended from 3pm – 8.00pm, 7 days a week.

It is thought the change will aid the recovery process and lead to improved access to parking facilities at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The decision to allow more flexible visiting follows a pilot in three wards at Forth Valley Royal Hospital – neonatal, medical and gynaecology – and one ward in a community hospital. Patients and carers were invited to complete a questionnaire and feedback has been extremely positive. Comments have included ‘for visitors travelling a long distance this is very helpful’ and ‘thank you so much for the flexi hours otherwise my husband could not have come at visiting times.’

NHS Forth Valley Senior Charge Nurse Catriona Addison who works in gynaecology said: “Overall, this has not caused us any problems. People have been very appreciative of the extended hours and patients, some of whom are distressed, have felt much better that members of their family have been able to be with them at different times throughout the day.”

The move towards open visiting stemmed from the launch, in November 2013, of the NHS Forth Valley Person-Centred Programme, a national initiative designed to put patients first. Around 150 staff and representatives from the local community heard Professor Jason Leitch from the Quality Unit at the Scottish Government advocate more flexibility over visiting hours. He told his audience there was nothing to fear as forty people would not arrive at a bed at once, with tartan rugs and flasks of tea!

Professor Angela Wallace, NHS Forth Valley’s Director of Nursing, said: “We know that extended visiting times is something which patients and their families really value as it offers greater flexibility, particularly for people who work full-time or rely on public transport.”

Under the new visiting arrangements, families will be asked to limit the number of visitors to two at a time, although staff say that, in certain circumstances, they will be happy to discuss a request for more. They also recognise that there may be certain times, particularly with vulnerable patients, where visiting hours may need to be extended further.

Details of the new arrangements are contained in a family-friendly leaflet which also offers advice on infection control and the need to maintain a restful environment for the patient.