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Advice for Hospital Visitors


If you’re about to visit someone in hospital then give some thought to making sure your visit is a positive experience for you and those around you. This means understanding the requirements with respect to the spread of disease and hygiene, and sticking to the rules that the hospital has put in place for the benefit of the patients. Here are some tips on how to get hospital visiting right:

1) Don’t visit the hospital if you’re unwell. Many of those in hospital have severely weakened immune systems, which makes them much more vulnerable to any germs or bugs you might bring in with you. No matter how much you might want to visit someone, if you’re not well then the best thing you can do is to stay at home until you’re better.

2) Hand hygiene. Germs and disease can be spread via touch, so careful hand hygiene is important for all visitors, both to make sure you don’t pass anything on, and so that you don’t pick anything up. Wash your hands with soap and water when entering and leaving the hospital, and when going in or out of the patient’s room – or alternatively use alcohol rub each time.

3) Be aware that other patients might need rest. Patients who are ill enough to be in hospital are likely to get tired very quickly so have some consideration for those around you, as well as the person you’re visiting. Try to keep the noise levels low, don’t visit in large numbers and don’t play music or bring strong smelling food with you.

4) Call in advance to make sure you are aware of ward closures and visiting times. It may not be particularly convenient for you to have to time your arrival with hospital visiting hours, rather than when it works for you, but if you don’t arrive at the right time then you could find that you won’t be able to visit. Make things easier for everyone and find out when visiting times are – then don’t overstay your welcome.

5) Should you bring presents? It’s lovely to receive a gift when you’re sick in hospital so by all means bring the traditional presents of chocolate, sweets, magazines, fruit or books. Avoid anything that might cause a nuisance and if you want to take flowers then it’s a good idea to check with the ward staff first.

Visiting someone in hospital can make a great difference to their experience, as they will feel supported and cared for – as long as you do it properly. If you have any doubts or questions don’t hesitate to contact our Patient Services team on 0121 424 08 08.

Thinking of going to Accident and Emergency but not sure if you need to? Try our handy symptom checker.

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