Derriford Hospital in Plymouth has increased its visiting hours - after seeing patients benefit from more time with visitors.
All inpatient wards - except critical care and maternity - will be brought under the new timetable from today.
The hospital hopes that by getting families and other visitors to be more involved with looking after a patient while they're on the wards, they'll feel more confident helping to care for their loved one at home when the time comes for them to be discharged.
It's thought the measure will reduce anxiety for both the patient and their relatives, and should improve communication between all parties.
To that end, a "Visitors’ Charter for Adult Inpatients" has been developed. It outlines what staff will do and what they ask visitors to do too.
It describes what standards visitors should keep to, for example:
- ensuring that no more than two people visit at any one time
- supporting and encouraging the patient during mealtimes
- observing quiet times
- being willing to leave for a short period of time, such as during doctors’ rounds, etc.
Spreading visiting across the day also means speaking to medical staff should be easier.
The longer hours are also in recognition of the valuable input family and carers can have on a patient's happiness.
For William Rooney, a visit from his family is the highlight of his day. They live in Cornwall, so the 100 mile round trip to Derriford isn't always possible and is over too quickly.
His family are sure the new visiting hours will improve his recovery time.
It's a big change for the hospital and those that use it but it's hoped that, in time, the initiative will be rolled out across all departments.