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Information for visitors

It is important that people admitted to hospital have regular contact with family and friends. However, we need to keep an eye on the incidence of coronavirus to keep everyone safe from infection on our wards. So 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 may be asked to wear a mask during the visit. Please follow all staff instructions.

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 on arrival

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 may be asked to put on a mask if you are not already wearing one
  • 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.

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 the person you are visiting will appreciate a conversation with you and news from the outside world.

Prohibited Items 

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
  • No 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, cables, 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 drinks 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 smoke-free. That means that smoking is not permitted in car parks, on the grounds or in secluded corners of our sites. As well as being very expensive, the health risks of 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 very limited parking on ELFT's London sites but paid parking in the local streets. All our sites are on public transport networks.
In Bedfordshire and Luton, where there are fewer transport networks, there is paid parking and street parking around most of our sites.

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.

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.