Coronavirus patient visiting rules relaxed so families can be with loved ones

One family member at a time will now be allowed to be with patients, including those in intensive care, as they near the end of their lives, according to guidance sent to medical staff on Monday. The communique spells out how senior staff were uncomfortable with stringent restrictions imposed on people whose loved ones were dying amid concerns they could contract Covid-19 themselves and spread it to others. Signed by Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Charlotte McArdle, the new guidance acknowledges how such “visits are important both for the patient and their loved ones”. In an annex to the guidance, offering further advice to nurses, it states: “Infection prevention and control requirements should not be so rigid as to prevent family members/loved ones from saying goodbye in as humanely a way as possible - this includes the ability for them to hold hands and touch the dying person.” The news comes in the wake of difficult stories of families unable to have any physical contact with loved ones with Covid-19 during their final days. PPE where deemed necessary should be provided in order to protect the visitor as well as guidance by staff about behaviour while visiting a COVID-19 positive patient. All permitted visitors should adhere to strict hand hygiene and infection control precautions on arriving and leaving the area.