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Information for Visitors

Staying in touch when someone is admitted to one of our wards.

It is important that people admitted to hospital have regular contact with family and friends. However, it is also important that we keep people safe from infection on our wards. So in the light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, there are a number of steps we need to take to keep everyone safe.

> All visits need to be pre-arranged with the ward. 
> You will need to wear a mask when you visit and follow all staff instructions.
If these steps are not followed, the visit will unfortunately not be able to take place.

Your Health

> If you feel unwell or have even mild symptoms on the day, PLEASE DO NOT VISIT THE WARD
> We will ask you about your health and check your temperature on arrival
> We will ask you for some basic information to enable the 'Track and Trace' system to contact you if someone you are in contact with develops COVID symptoms

When a visit has been arranged, you will need to follow these instructions:

> Wash your hands on arrival or use the hand gel provided

> Make sure you keep 2m away from other people

> Do not try to shake hands with any staff member - a smile and a hello is all we need!

> You will be asked to put on a mask if you are not already wearing one

> If you have a walking stick or aid, we will need to wipe it down with a Clinell wipe

> Only one visitor can be with the patient at a time. We may be able to increase this to two in situations where social distancing can be observed throughout

> We will have to limit the number of items that can be brought onto the ward, to reduce the risk of infection. Please bring as few items as possible with you, and discuss with the ward team on arrival. All items will need to be cleaned before being brought onto the ward.

> If you wish to bring a child to visit their parent on a ward, please discuss this with the ward in advance so that we can plan appropriately and use family visiting areas.

Location of Visit
Where possible, we will arrange for the visit to take place outdoors, in a garden or courtyard - if the patient is able to (and depending on the weather forecast). Alternatively, we will designate a room for visitors. We ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before and after use

Telephone and Video-Conference Virtual Visits

Don't forget, you can stay in contact with the patient by phone or with a video call using a tablet or laptop computer to stay in contact.
We have all got more used to using technology in the last few months.

Although these steps may seem strange at first, we will all get used to them.
The most important thing is that we avoid the spread of infection and ensure that patients and visitors are able to spend time together

Thank you for your assistance in keeping everyone safe


Gifts and Items
Patients will appreciate small gifts, treats and items that they can use when in hospital. Such as:

  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Healthy snacks
  • Fruit
  • Toiletries such as shower gel, shampoo, shaving foam, deodorant, skin creams, etc.

Speak to staff about these items when you are planning your visit. 

But mostly they will appreciate a conversation with you and news from the outside world.

Items Not Allowed
Because we have to ensure our wards are safe and healthy, there are a number of items that you cannot bring. These include:

  • Flowers or plants
  • Plastic bags of any kind. But paper or fabric bags, boxes and plastic containers are fine
  • Cigarettes and lighter (We supply nicotine replacement patches)
  • Glass containers
  • Sharp items such as scissors, files or knives
  • Alcohol
  • Illegal drugs
  • Belts, flexes, etc.

If you are not sure, just ask a member of staff

Security Measures
Our Forensic Units (at the John Howard Centre and Wolfson House) have special rules about items that are allowed into visiting areas. You will be advised of the steps to take on arrival but items such as mobile phones, cameras and lighters will need to be stowed away in the lockers available.

Visits by Children
It is important for children and their parents to stay in contact and be assured each other are OK. Children can visit by arrangement with the ward manager. We have specially designed family visiting rooms at most of our sites to provide the right environment for families to spend time together.

No pets are permitted. Guide dogs and sensory/disability dogs are allowed. Please contact the ward manager in advance to arrange visits.

Improving Health and Wellbeing
Please help us to improve the health of the people in our care.  Avoid bringing drink or food that has a high sugar content such as juice, fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate.

Foods that are high in fat such as deep fried food, pizza or other takeaway meals should be limited to just 1-2 times a week.

These foodstuffs are fine in small amounts. But we all need to look after our health and work to reduce the risk of obesity and health issues that come from being overweight. We want the patients in our care to become healthier during their time with us, so please help them to reach their optimum health.

No Smoking
All Trust sites are smokefree. That means that smoking is no permitted in car parks, in the grounds or in secluded corners of our sites. As well as being very expensive, the health risks from smoking are widely known.
We will provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy to anyone admitted to our wards. This could be the start of them actually quitting and saving hundreds of pounds a year. You will be challenged if you smoke on ELFT premises.

E-cigarettes are allowed in single bedrooms and hospital grounds. But not allowed in day areas, communal areas, clinical areas, ward gardens or during group or individual therapy.

All our wards and many waiting rooms in our centres have Guest WiFi. Ask a member of staff for the password.

There is limited parking on ELFT's London sites but paid parking in the local streets. All sites are on public transport networks.

In Bedfordshire and Luton, there is paid parking and street parking around most of our sites.

After Discharge
Your friend or relative will value your support even more in the early days after being discharged from the ward. So stay in contact or pop in to see how they are doing. It can feel strange being home for the first few days and getting back to normal so any help or contact will be greatly appreciated.

Invite them to meet with you somewhere local or travel together to support them in getting out of the house for a while.