Open visiting has been introduced in the majority of wards at Forth Valley Royal Hospital with the exception of mental health and wards in the Women and Children’s Unit.
Inpatient wards at all of the region’s community hospitals are also welcoming visitors at any time, rather than during specific visiting hours.
The change by NHS Forth Valley is part of the Scottish Government’s person-centred visiting initiative which aims to help people be part of the care of a loved one.
Evidence suggests removing restrictions on visiting times can improve a patient’s experience and enhance their quality of care.
Falkirk health: Patients benefit from new LumenEye procedure which can detect bowel cancer
Falkirk health: Patients benefit from new breast cancer services at Forth Valley Royal Hospital
Scottish GP patient survey 2022: The 12 worst rated doctor’s surgeries in Falkirk district
Bo'ness woman (68) spent 15 hours alone in agony waiting for ambulance
Scottish GP patient survey 2022: The 12 best rated doctor’s surgeries in Falkirk district
However, there may be times when visitors are asked to step outside the ward to allow all patients to receive care and treatment with privacy in a safe and dignified way.
Elaine Kettings, head of person centred care for NHS Forth Valley, said: “Some of our patients are in our care for a period of time so we want to make it as homely as possible for them.
“Patients may welcome encouragement and support at mealtimes, others may have been early risers all their lives and it would be good for their wellbeing to have a visitor join them at breakfast or deliver the morning paper and have a tea or a coffee with them.
“We believe that patients’ families, carers and friends have an important role to play as part of the
care team and we are encouraging our patients to tell us how they would like their loved ones to
be involved in their care.”
The ‘welcome’ message promotes a more flexible approach on how NHS Forth Valley can work together with families, friends and carers to achieve what is best for the patient.
It also means people seeing a familiar face at times when they need it, which can help speed recovery and improve a patient’s experience.
An initial pilot scheme at Falkirk Community Hospital, where restrictions on visiting times were
lifted at the end of 2019, has been extremely successful with relatives, friends and carers
enthusiastic about the change.