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Matrons at Chesterfield Royal trial extended visiting hours


Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust’s chief nurse has announced that its wards are to pilot extended opening hours, meaning relatives will be able to visit over a period of 10 hours.

The trust ended open visiting hours over seven years ago in order to help combat high MRSA and Clostridium difficile rates. Visiting was drastically shortened to between 2.30pm-4pm and 6.30pm-8pm.

However, the hospital trust said its infection rates were now at a record low – in 2012-13 it recorded one case of MRSA and 36 cases of C difficile – and it was to trial extending visiting hours on six wards.

The trust said its team of senior matrons felt it was “time to adopt new ideas; to improve the interaction, communication and engagement their matrons can have with relatives on the wards”.

For the next six months, starting on 27 May, three medical wards are open to visitors from 10am to 8pm, while two trauma and orthopaedic wards are open from 2pm to 8pm.

Staff, patients and visitors will be canvassed for their views on the idea.

Although the visiting day is extended, visitors will be reminded that work on the ward needs to continue as usual and, unless they are very ill or the ward team think it’s beneficial, visitors will still be asked to restrict the time they stay – to a couple of hours at maximum. 

“This should allow ample time for them to catch-up on their loved one’s care; speak to staff and make sure their relative has everything they need,” the trust said.

Trust chief nurse Barbara Stuttle said: “This is about extending visiting hours to improve how we involve relatives in a loved ones’ care.

“It’s about making ward matrons accessible, so they can answer questions and explain care and treatment plans.

“Lack of communication across the NHS is often cited as a source of frustration and leads to complaints,” she said. “By opening our doors for longer this problem is easier to resolve.”

Ms Stuttle added: “It offers more convenience and should stop wards from being ‘clogged-up’ at certain times of the day. We’re hoping relatives and carers welcome the trial and the opportunity to participate.”


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Readers' comments (4)

  • This is a good idea especially as it will encourage relatives to be more involved in the care of their loved ones, such as assisting with feeding etc which will free up nurses to continue with more urgent care needs. Recently my mother was gravely ill with heart failure etc and my family kept a 24hr vigil with her ensuring someone was with her at all times. The nursing staff were very grateful as they stated that they wouldn't have been able to give her the sort of care we provided due to cuts and we feel that she may not have come through her illness without our involvement.

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  • My father died suddenly on a ward at this hospital. We had the dreaded middle of the night phone call to hurry to his bedside having left him 4 hrs earlier sitting up in bed.. When we arrived he was unconscious but not dead. It was an awful experience, no side ward was available and we huddled around his bed at the far end of the six bedded bay for 2 hours until he passed away. We also noticed his belongings had already been taken out of his locker and packed into property bags, to say we felt they had given up on him is an understatement. This place has a lot to learn.

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  • relatives should be encouraged to participate in care but it must come from them and they must not feel under any obligation, feel pressured, or made to feel guilty in any way.

    it must never be considered a substitute for nursing care because nurses do not have the time or even, in some sad cases, the inclination!

    Caring for a fellow human being is a privilege and must never be turned into a chore offered unwillingly.

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  • Anonymous | 7-Jun-2013 8:10 am

    Caring for a fellow human being is a privilege and must never be turned into a chore offered unwillingly.

    That hits the nail on the head yet appears to be forgotten or not even considered by many.

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