Lockdown: Western Cape hospitals amend guidelines, allow limited visitation

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Hospital corridor. (iStock)
Hospital corridor. (iStock)
  • The Western Cape health department's adjusted guidelines will allow limited hospital visitation to commence.
  • Adult patients, who are not terminally ill, will not be allowed visitors; their families will be updated on the patient's condition by phone.
  • Covid-19 positive and patients under investigation will not be allowed any visitors, but exceptions will be made for those who are terminally ill.

Limited hospital visitation will be allowed to commence under strict safety precautions after the Western Cape health department recently adjusted its guidelines amid Level 1 lockdown regulations.

Covid-19 positive patients under investigation will, however, not be allowed any visitors, but exceptions will be made for those who are terminally ill.

According to the department, all adult patients, who are not terminally ill, will not be allowed visitors and their families will be updated on the patient's condition by phone.

"These guidelines will be assessed and implemented according to each facility's current situation and capacity," the department said in a statement.

"They are also dependent on where we find ourselves during the pandemic, keeping the best interest and safety of both staff and patients' as top priority."

Virtual communication has already been implemented in situations where a patient cannot be visited.

According to the amended visitation guidelines, visitors and escorts are only allowed at health facilities "under special circumstances", such as the rapid deterioration of a patient's condition, where loved ones are allowed to say their final farewells.

For outpatients, one escort is allowed for paediatric, disabled, vulnerable or weak patients.

At emergency units, one escort may accompany a paediatric patient into an emergency room, while one or two family members are allowed at a time for terminal patients.

Disabled or vulnerable patients may have one escort, depending on the situation, while all other patients are allowed one escort, who will remain in the waiting room if space allows.

Adult inpatients will be limited to 30 minutes visitation per visitor, over a period of one hour per day, while terminally ill patients are allowed to be visited by loved ones for 30 minutes per day, with more people and longer times at the discretion of the ward manager.

The critically ill are allowed one designated visitor once per day.

Paediatric inpatients are allowed one parent/caregiver, who can alternate with another parent/caregiver, while more family members are allowed for terminal patients for 30 minutes, one person at a time. More people and longer time slots will be allowed at the discretion of the ward manager.

Mothers may remain with the neonatal patients or visit regularly, while a birthing partner or a designated person may visit daily for 30 minutes, with longer visitation at the discretion of the ward manager.

In terms of maternity and labour, Covid-19 patients in labour are not allowed birthing partners, while those who test negative are allowed one during active labour, if sufficient space and privacy are available.

Those undergoing C-sections are not allowed birthing partners in theatre, but are allowed to visit for 30 minutes in the postnatal ward.

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