17 April 2020
Patients receiving end-of-the-life care at Jersey’s General Hospital and other Health and Community Services premises can now be visited by family members, as guidance has been updated.
Last month, Islanders were no longer permitted to visit patients as a precaution to reduce the spread of COVID-19. However, Health and Community Services has now relaxed that restriction for patients receiving end-of-life care, following updated guidance from the British Association of Critical Care Nurses and the Infection Prevention Society.
This means that severely ill patients can see their loved-ones – as long as family members are willing to follow strict health and safety rules.
Under the new advice, only one family member should visit at any time. However, if the family member requires help to visit, care staff will make the necessary arrangements.
Visitors must wear Personal Protective Equipment and must also meet the hygiene requirements outlined. Support will be provided to put on and remove equipment as necessary.
Although it is recognised that visiting a severely unwell patient can be emotionally and physically exhausting, it’s hoped, if possible, that the same relative represents the family for the period of the patient’s illness.
Wherever possible, the patient will be asked for consent to receive visitors. If this is not possible, their previously-known wishes or the judgement of a closest relative or a legally-appointed proxy decision-maker will be taken into account.
Anyone who is unwell and/or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-should not visit patients. If someone is unable to visit, the department can help set up a virtual visit using Hospital mobile tablets or other handheld communication devices.
Relatives are also advised that the frequency of their visits, their duration, and the number of visitors may need to be limited. This will be based on the risk to other patients and care staff or other practical considerations in the unit.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Richard Renouf, said: “We recognise that it is important for relatives to be able to see their loved ones when they are critically ill, especially as it may be their opportunity to say their last goodbye.
“These updated guidelines ensure that visits to patients receiving end-of-life care can go ahead while also ensuring the safety of visitors and healthcare staff on the ward.”
There are a number of services relatives can turn to for support, regardless of the diagnosis of the patient:
- HCS Patient Advisory Liaison Services (PALS) can be phoned on 01534 443513 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
- To contact the Hospital’s chaplaincy service phone 01534 442377 or email Ma.Turner@health.gov.je.
- Anyone who would like bereavement and counselling services can contact Jersey Hospice Care and Macmillan Cancer Support Jersey on 01534 876555 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For spiritual support and a listening ear you can contact the Deanery on 01534 720001 or 01543 861110.