Visitors Welcome In Forth Valley Hospitals At Any Time

Families, friends and carers are now welcome to see patients at any time of the day, rather than during specific visiting hours. NHS Forth Valley has introduced open visiting in the majority of wards at Forth Valley Royal Hospital (except mental health and wards in the Women and Children’s Unit) and inpatient wards at all our community hospitals. This change is part of the Scottish Government’s Person-Centred Visiting Initiative which aims to help people be part of the care of a loved one.

Evidence suggests that removing restrictions on visiting times can improve a patient’s experience and enhance their quality of care. However, to keep patients safe, there may be times when visitors are asked to step outside the ward to allow all patients to receive care and treatment with privacy in a safe and dignified way.

NHS Forth Valley’s Head of Person Centred Care, Elaine Kettings, said: “Some of our patients are in our care for a period of time so we want to make it as homely as possible for them. Patient’s may welcome encouragement and support at mealtimes; others may have been early risers all their lives and it would be good for their wellbeing to have a visitor join them at breakfast or deliver the morning paper and have a tea or a coffee with them.

“We believe that patients’ families, carers and friends have an important role to play as part of the care team and we are encouraging our patients to tell us how they would like their loved ones to be involved in their care.”

The ‘welcome’ message from Senior Charge Nurses promotes a more flexible approach on how NHS Forth Valley can work together with families, friends and carers to achieve what is best for the patient. It also means people seeing a familiar face at times when they need it. This can help speed recovery and improve a patient’s experience at what can be a really difficult time in their lives.

An initial pilot scheme at Falkirk Community Hospital, where restrictions on visiting times were lifted at the end of 2019, has been extremely successful with relatives, friends and carers enthusiastic about the change.