Hospitals at a trust in Birmingham are to remove visiting hours restrictions from tomorrow to allow friends and family members to see patients whenever they want.
All wards at Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull hospitals will introduce a policy of open visiting from 1 April, following a successful trial of extended visiting hours at Solihull.
“We are excited to… give more flexibility to relatives as to when they can visit and the role they can play in the care of their loved ones”
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the three hospitals, said support from family and friends was an “integral” part of patient recovery and that it hoped the new policy would provide people with more flexibility to see their relatives.
The trust also said it hoped the introduction of open visiting would make its hospitals more “dementia friendly,” allowing carers and families more opportunities to see those they were looking after and to help inform their care.
Visitors will be expected to use a code developed by the trust, which will contains guidelines on areas such as the recommended maximum number of people stood at a patient’s bed at a time, ways to reduce infections from spreading and conditions around protected mealtimes.
The trust added there would be occasions when visitors could be asked to return later or wait in a separate ward due to clinical reasons.
It also said that while visits between the early morning and late evening would require no notice, any overnight visits would need to be arranged with the ward sister and nurse in charge beforehand.
Sam Foster, chief nurse at the trust, said: “We understand how stressful being in hospital can be both for the patient and their loved ones and know how much of a boost to a patient’s morale and recovery visits from friends and relatives can be.
“Therefore, we are excited to be taking this step forward as a trust to give more flexibility to relatives as to when they can visit and to the role they can play in the care of their loved ones,” she said.