What to expect as a visitor
Our team appreciates and recognises that you want to be with your family member or friend when they present to the Emergency Department. However the number of patients we treat can sometimes make it difficult to accommodate all of a patient’s family and friends’ needs.
Our patients’ safety, health and well-being is our primary concern, respecting their dignity and privacy is a priority and, whilst visitors are welcome, we would ask them to follow a few simple guidelines:
If you arrive to the Emergency Department with a patient
- Please allow the Emergency Department team approximately 20 minutes to undertake an assessment of the patient and make them comfortable
- Check with a member of staff if you plan to leave to make sure that the correct contact details have been recorded if you are the patient’s next of kin or the person to be contacted if an emergency occurs
If you are visiting a patient in the Emergency Department
- The recommended visiting time is 20 minutes so we can ensure that the delivery of care to the patient is not disrupted
- However, if you feel you can improve the patients care by being present e.g. where the patient is confused, vulnerable or distressed, please discuss this with the nurse-in-charge and we will do our best to accommodate you
If you wish to stay in the Emergency Department treatment room with the patient
- We understand that certain patients need a family member or friend to be there at all times to support them with their care and communication needs. In these cases please make sure that you speak to the nurse-in-charge who will do their best to facilitate you
- If the patient is a young person or child (under 18 years) both parents will be invited to remain in the treatment room
- If more than one family member or friend has accompanied a patient to the Emergency Department, we would ask that only one person remains at the patient’s bedside.
- We would encourage families to designate a family spokesperson to facilitate effective communication between family and hospital staff
When a visitor’s presence in the treatment room is not recommended:
Occasionally, circumstances may arise when it is not appropriate for any family or friends to be present with a patient during their treatment. These are:
- If a patient does not wish to have family or friends present
- To protect a patient’s privacy and confidentiality
- When doctors/clinical team are examining a patient
- During meal times
- If an emergency occurs while a visitor is with the patient they will be asked to go to the waiting room for a period of time – whilst being kept informed by a member of staff.
When visiting the hospital or Emergency Department is not recommended
- Family and friends are asked not to visit during the flu season, winter vomiting bug or at a time of general overcrowding in the department to avoid the spread of infection
- They should not visit if they are personally suffering from sore throats, flu, vomiting and/or diarrhoea or any other infections in the last two days
- We strongly discourage bringing any children who are not patients to the Emergency Department.
General guidelines for visitors to the Emergency Department
- Keep your hands clean and use hand hygiene dispensers to prevent the spread of any infection.
- Do not supply patients with food and drink without checking with their nurse or doctor – as the patient may need to fast for an investigation or procedure
- Restrict usage of mobile phones as much as possible
- Do not leave any valuables unattended
- Violence or aggression towards staff or patients will not be tolerated.
Please be aware that the Emergency Department is a clinical treatment area and visitors should refrain from any behaviour that would disturb patients or distract staff. Family and friends are asked to comply with any requests made by Emergency Department staff.
Find out more about what to expect on arrival to the Emergency Department in our list of frequently asked questions