Visiting Guidance Update

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Visiting Guidance Update
24 May 2021

Important information for patients and families about visiting at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group

As the COVID pandemic continues to subside we recognise that it is important to re-establish visiting for patients and families across the communities we serve.

This update is designed to give our patients a clear understanding of who can visit our sites and care settings at the moment, how our visiting restrictions are currently being reviewed, and what plans are in place to help enable all of our patients to receive visitors over the coming weeks and months.

Existing exemptions to visiting restrictions

There are already some exemptions in place across the Northern Care Alliance where visiting has, and continues to be, allowed during the Covid pandemic. These include:

  • Visiting a patient receiving end-of-life care.
  • When you are the birthing partner accompanying a woman in labour.
  • When are a parent or appropriate adult visiting your child
  • When you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, a learning disability or autism, where not being present would cause the patient to be distressed.

These permissions remain in place and visitors continue to be permitted to attend under these circumstances, whilst we continue to work to open up visiting safely to the rest of our patients and families.

Long term and intermediate care visiting

Some of our patients are now also able to receive visitors if they are with us for a longer period of time, perhaps for rehabilitation from an illness. They may be being looked after in one of our intermediate care or long-term settings, which include:

  • Butler Green Intermediate Care Unit, Oldham
  • Neuro Rehab Unit, Salford Royal Foundation Trust
  • The Floyd Unit, Rochdale
  • Tudor Court Intermediate Care Unit, Heywood
  • Killalea Intermediate Care Unit, Bury
  • Wolstenholme Intermediate Care Unit, Rochdale
  • The Limes Intermediate Care Unit, Salford
  • The Maples Care Home, Salford
  • Heartley Green Care Home, Irlam, Salford
  • Stroke Rehabilitation Unit – Fairfield Hospital Bury

In these settings, each patient can receive up to two previously agreed and identified visitors. Both visitors will need to complete a negative Lateral Flow Test before visiting and twice a week where visits are ongoing.

Virtual visiting

  • Where visiting continues to be restricted we will continue to support virtual visiting wherever possible, with our staff helping patients to call home using video and phone calls, to help them stay in touch.

Outpatient Clinic Visiting

  • Because of the space restrictions and the continued need for us to support social distancing we are still asking patients to attend outpatient clinics alone, wherever possible. Please let us know if this is a real issue and we will work with you to help give you the support you need.

Critical Care Visiting

  • Our Infection Prevention Control team recently conducted a successful trial with our Critical Care Units at Bury, Oldham and Salford and have successfully reintroduced visiting in these departments, with hugely positive feedback from all those involved.

Infection Prevention and Control Guidance for all visitors

  • It’s vital that our patients and visitors continue to follow the standardised infection prevention and control messaging around hands, face, space, to help us keep everyone safe and secure.
  • Although outside our hospital and care settings the Covid restrictions have been relaxed in some places, it’s really important that we continue to follow the rules and keep our patients, staff and visitors protected from any risk of infection.

Next steps for Visiting 

  • Based on the success of the recent Critical Care trial we are now beginning to think about the safest way to reintroduce visiting for our patients, staff and families across our sites, following a structured, careful approach to ensure that our Infection Prevention and Control guidance is met and the safety of our patients and visitors is ensured.
  • We will continue to keep our communities updated with news about our visiting restrictions over the coming weeks via our website and our social media channels. Thank you for your ongoing patience and co-operation.

Visiting FAQs

Which patients can have visitors at the moment?

Patients who are classed as being at end of life, in last weeks or days of life, or who are staying in an intermediate care or long-term setting, or who are in a critical care unit are currently able to have visitors.

What do those categories mean?

  • End of Life Care can refer to anyone that has a life limiting illness and or thought to be in the last year of life.
  • Last Week’s / Days of Life – this refers to a person who is believed to be approaching the last weeks or days of life.
  • Intermediate Care and Long-Term Care – this means a patient who is staying with us for a longer period of time, perhaps in a rehabilitation unit or similar.
  • Critical Care – this means a patient who is receiving intensive care in one of our Critical Care or ICU units.

What do I need to do if I am visiting a patient in one of these categories?

End of Life Care

  • Each patient can receive up to two previously agreed and identified visitors.
  • Both visitors should complete a negative Lateral Flow Test before visiting and twice a week, if visits are ongoing.
  • Visitors should perform hand hygiene and will be provided with a facemask on entering the care facility
  • Visitors will be taken directly to the resident who they are visiting, and will be asked to stay in designated areas, and not go into any staff or communal areas.

Last Week’s / Days of Life

  • Each patient can receive up to two previously agreed and identified visitors.
  • Both visitors should complete a negative Lateral Flow Test before visiting and twice a week, if visits are ongoing.
  • Visitors should perform hand hygiene and will be provided with a facemask on entering the care facility.
  • Visitors will be taken directly to the resident and are assisted to don additional recommended level of PPE (apron/gloves/eye protection)
  • Visitors will be asked to stay in designated areas, and not go into any staff or communal areas.

Intermediate Care and Long-Term Settings

  • Each patient can receive up to two previously agreed and identified visitors.
  • Both visitors will need to complete a negative Lateral Flow Test before visiting and twice a week, if visits are ongoing.
  • Visitors should perform hand hygiene and will be provided with a facemask on entering the care facility
  • Visitors will be taken directly to resident and are advised by staff if any additional PPE (apron/gloves/eye protection) is required.
  • Visitors will be asked to stay in designated areas, and not go into any staff or communal areas.

Critical Care/ICU

  • Families and loved ones of patients being treated in Critical Care or Intensive Care should speak with the unit directly to ask about visiting – we’re currently conducting a testing period of visiting and this may change so please speak with the team at Bury, Oldham or Salford Care Organisations directly about your circumstances.

How else can I keep in touch with my loved one or relative if I still can’t visit them in person?

  • With restrictions on the visitors allowed on our hospital sites at the moment, it is important that we do everything to keep our patients connected with their loved ones.
  • We continue to support virtual visits using video and normal phonecalls to help patients and families stay in touch.

Can I send a message or email into my loved one or relative?

  • The Northern Care Alliance have also set up a dedicated inbox for families and friends to contact their loved ones at this time.
  • If you would like to send a message or photo to a loved one who is currently an inpatient in one of our hospitals please email:

Alongside the message, please include the patient’s name, date of birth, hospital site where they are being treated and the ward or department number. 

The email address is monitored from 09:00 – 16:00 Monday to Friday. Letters and messages sent through after 14:00 (or anytime on a weekend) will be delivered the next working day.

 Can I speak to the ward staff where my relative or loved one is being treated?

Can I drop off essential items for my relative or loved one if they’re staying in hospital?

  • We have set up a patient property drop off service so relatives/friend can drop off essential items for their loved ones who are staying in hospital.
  • This service runs from Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 4.00pm(8pm for Royal Oldham ) (excluding bank holidays) at each of our main entrances (patient/visitor only entrances) areas – see links to map at the bottom of the page.

You may include some of the following items:

  • A change of clothes and underwear
  • Mobile phone / tablet, headphones, e-reader and charger
  • Reading glasses, dentures and hearing aids  
  • Toothbrush, hairbrush and a small number of other bathroom essentials
  • A small comforting personal item, eg. a photo, book or magazine. 

No perishable items or items of value (you will be asked to sign a disclaimer form)

To use this service please take note of the following process:

  • When preparing belongings please ensure you only pack essential items. These include toiletries, a mobile phone, phone charger or clothing items. You are welcome to include a letter to your loved one in the bag.
  • Please do not pack any valuables (eg jewellery). It will not be possible for staff on the ward to complete a property checklist and any belongings brought in will not be the responsibility of the hospital.
  • Ideally items should be packed in a clear plastic bag, clearly label the bag with the patient’s name and the ward they are on.  However, we will provide bags on site if you don’t have any at home.
  • Only one relative or friend should come on to the site to bring the bag.
  • Our main entrances are manned by security, inform them you are dropping off patient property as soon as you arrive.
  • A volunteer will go through a checklist with you, checking items, cleaning all wipeable items where possible and placing them into a clear bag if required.  You will be asked to sign a disclaimer form.
  • A volunteer will deliver the belongings to your loved one on the ward.

Thank you for your support and cooperation and for helping us to keep our patients, staff and communities safe and secure.

Salford Royal Site Map

Royal Oldham Hospital Site Map

Fairfield General Site Map  

Rochdale Infirmary Site Map

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