Non-essential visiting is suspended

Due to the sharp rise in cases of Covid-19 both in the community and in our hospitals, we have taken the decision to, unfortunately, put a pause on all non-essential visiting.

We have taken this extremely difficult decision to protect our patients, staff and wider communities. We understand that friends and family will want to see their loved ones during their hospital stay, and we will continue to support virtual visiting and other alternative arrangements.

In the meantime, we will regularly review our visiting guidance so please check this website for the latest information. If you are attending for an appointment, please click here for guidance.

Until further notice, visiting will only be permitted in the following circumstances:

  • For patients who are receiving end-of-life care or are terminally ill and in the late stages of their illness.
  • For birthing partners in maternity units.
  • For birthing partners can accompany mothers to 18-21 week anomaly scans.
  • For parents or legal guardians within our Paediatric and Neonatal services.
  • For long-stay patients and those with dementia or where best interest decisions or exceptional clinical/social matters are being discussed, at the discretion of the nurse or midwife in charge.

For those permitted to visit, please read this guidance before and during your visit.

Virtual visiting

As a Trust, since the start of the pandemic we have we have introduced ‘Virtual visiting’ using a simple video conference app called Starleaf, which is very similar to Facetime or Skype. It is easy to use, it is secure and it is free.

To start a virtual visit with a friend or loved ones, you just need to have access to a either a smart phone, iPad, tablet or PC (with sound and camera). If you are interested in using this service, please contact the appropriate ward where your relative is and the staff there will try and arrange this for you.

The ward will need your email address and a time to schedule the virtual visit. Alternatively, you can email dbth.butterflyvolunteer@nhs.net, who will support you with this.

Letter writing

If you have elderly friends or family with us who are struggling to use technology to keep in touch, we have an established service to send in letters so you can communicate beyond structured visiting times.

Introduced by our Palliative Care team, relatives and friends can email in a letter for their loved one and it will then be printed out in a hand writing style font and delivered to the patient. In these current times, we are working towards bringing comfort in whatever way we can and this would mean the patient has something they can treasure, re-read and focus on when upset or lonely.

The email address is dbth.butterflyvolunteer@nhs.net. Please note, this is specifically for elderly patients who are struggling to communicate via other means (for instance Facetime and so on).

If you are sending a letter in, you will need to add the patient’s name, ward and the words ‘letters to loved ones’ in the subject box.


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