Dying Patients Can Get Family Visits

Patients receiving end of life care at Jersey's hospital or other government-run health services can now be visited by family members.

As of last month, islanders were no longer allowed to visit hospital patients as a precaution to stop the risk of spreading coronavirus.

However severely ill patients can now be visited, as long as strict health and safety rules are followed.

The rules are that:

* Only one family member is allowed to visit at one time. Arrangements can be made if the visitor needs help to visit.

* They have to wear PPE and abide by hygiene guidelines. Help will be given to put on and take off equipment.

* Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should not visit. Virtual visits can take place if it can't be done in person (e.g. using hospital mobile tablets)

* The patient will be asked for consent to have visitors if possible. If it isn't possible, their previously-known wishes or the judgement of a close relative or legally-appointed proxy decision-maker will be taken into account.

* The number of visits and the amount of time visits take may have to be limited to reduce the risk to other patients.

The government also says that while visiting a really unwell patient can be emotionally and physically exhausting, it’s hoped, if possible, that the same relative represents the family in these visits.

The Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said earlier this week in a media briefing that he wasn't sure whether it could be allowed because of the risks of coronavirus, but has now changed his position following new guidance from the British Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Infection Prevention Society.

"We recognise that it is important for relatives to be able to see their loved ones when they are critically ill, especially as it may be their opportunity to say their last goodbye.

"These updated guidelines ensure that visits to patients receiving end-of-life care can go ahead while also ensuring the safety of visitors and healthcare staff on the ward."

Relatives can access support at:

* HCS Patient Advisory Liaison Services - 01534 443513 - 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday

* Hospital's chaplaincy service - 01534 442377 - Ma.Turner@health.gov.je

* Jersey Hospice Care and Macmillan Cancer Support - 01534 876555 - bereavement@jerseyhospicecare.com

* The Deanery - 720001 or 861110.

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