Cape residents advised of the new amended level 1 guidelines for hospital visits
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Cape Town - The Western Cape Health Department has announced that they have eased hospital visit guidelines now that the country has moved to adjusted lockdown level 1.
During the third wave and level 3 restrictions, the department had to restrict visitation at hospitals to align with regulations and to reduce the number of people in hospitals.
The department, however, believes that being visited by their loved ones is an important part of a patient’s road to recovery.
“It is also essential to family who are anxious about the well-being of their loved one and wants to visit them in hospital. We also understand that it is also reassuring for young patients or the elderly to have an escort present when visiting the emergency room or outpatients’ department.
“The Covid-19 epidemic has ushered in many changes, one of which is the need to avoid crowding and maintain a safe physical distance between people, to prevent infecting others with the coronavirus,” the department said.
“Health facilities are of necessity places where there are congregations of people accessing care, and even with a decline in Covid infections and a change to adjusted lockdown level 1, we need to remain vigilant around avoiding congestion and maintaining a safe physical distance between people.”
In line with the country moving to level 1 restrictions, the provincial Health Department has adjusted its visitation guidelines accordingly:
- Visitors and escorts are only allowed at health facilities under special circumstances and must be screened at the entrance of the facility.
- One escort is only allowed for paediatric, disabled, vulnerable or weak patients.
- Paediatric patients – one escort allowed to accompany patient into emergency room.
- Terminal patients – family members allowed to be present, but only one or two family members allowed to be present at a time.
- Disabled/vulnerable patients – one escort may be allowed depending on the situation. Will be assessed on a case-to-case basis.
- All other patients – one escort who will remain in the waiting room if there is sufficient space.
- Limited to 30 minutes visitation per visitor.
- Visiting time slot of 60 minutes per ward per day. Confirm with hospital what the ward’s visiting hours are before visiting.
- Terminally ill patients allowed to be visited by loved ones. Restricted to 30 minutes per person per day – more people and longer time at discretion of ward manager.
- Critically ill patients allowed one designated visitor once per day.
- One parent/caregiver can be with the patient.
- Parent/caregiver can alternate with other parent/caregiver, but only one allowed with patient at a time.
- More family members allowed for terminal patients for 30 minutes, one person at a time. More people and longer time slots at discretion of ward manager.
- Mother can remain with patient or regularly visit.
- Birthing partner or one designated person can visit daily for 30 minutes. Longer visitation at discretion of ward manager.
Maternity & labour:
- Covid-19-positive patients in labour – no birthing partners allowed.
- Covid-19-negative patients in labour – one birthing partner during active labour if sufficient space and privacy available.
- C-section – birthing partners not allowed in theatre but can visit mother and baby for 30 minutes in postnatal ward.
- Teenagers in labour – birthing partner will be accommodated at the discretion of the ward manager.
- Postnatal ward – birthing partner allowed to visit mother and newborn for 30 minutes per day during visiting period.
Covid-19 and PUI patients:
- No visitors allowed.
- Can drop off parcels (toiletries, food, books, etc.)
- Exceptions will be made for terminally ill patients.
- All other non-terminally ill adult patients not allowed visitors. Parcels (toiletries, food, books) can be dropped off at facility. Family will be updated on patient’s condition – must ensure they have the correct contact number on file.
“We believe this will bring some relief to both patients and family members in the recovery process and the support offered respectively.
“With the Covid-19 virus still present we must remain vigilant to avoid congestion and to maintain a safe physical distance between people,” the department said.
“These guidelines will be assessed and implemented according to each facility’s current situation and capacity. They are also dependent on where we find ourselves during the pandemic, keeping the best interest and safety of both staff and patients top priority.
“Therefore, we have already adopted virtual communication as a means when someone cannot be visited to connect with family members in the future,” it said.
People have been advised to call the relevant facility before visiting to ask about their visitation guidelines.
“All patients and visitors are to maintain the following safety precautions: wear a mask over your mouth and nose, maintain a physical distance, ensure good ventilation, and wash or sanitise hands often.”