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Update on easing of hospital visiting restrictions

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FAMILY, friends and well-wishers can attend hospitals to visit patients on a limited basis with prior agreement with hospital staff in line with Welsh Government guidance.

While the prevalence of Covid-19 remains very low among hospital inpatients, the virus has not gone away altogether, and like some other areas across Wales and indeed the UK, Hywel Dda UHB are dealing with cases of the Delta variant in our communities.

The health board has been gradually relaxing hospital visiting restrictions, however all visits must be pre-arranged to enable them to maintain social distancing in their wards and across their sites.

This means that a pre-booked visit by no more than two members of the same household can be supported, provided your visit has a clear purpose and is in the best interest of the patient.

A visit can be arranged following discussion between the patient and the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse, and visiting will be in line with the following Welsh Government Guidance:

  • ‘Visiting with a Purpose’:
  • End of life – last days of life
  • Carer –you are the carer or the nominated representative
  • Learning disabilities (LD) –a patient with learning disabilities may need you as their carer/ next of kin to share information about their individual needs and virtual visiting may not be appropriate.
  • Other – for example where it is felt a visit from you may help the patient with rehabilitation, understanding of care/ condition, help with dietary concerns. The ward sister may agree visiting outside of this guidance in certain circumstances.

Please note that visitors who do not meet this criteria will be asked to use a virtual visiting option instead which is available within the hospital, such as using a tablet or mobile phone. Family Liaison Officers will be available on wards to support access to virtual visiting.

Hywel Dda UHB would also kindly ask all visitors to adhere to the following restrictions:

  • All visiting or accompanying patients to appointments MUST be pre-arranged in advance with the relevant Ward Sister or Charge Nurse.
  • A staff member will contact the allocated visitor and agree a time slot for the visitor to attend the ward.  There will be one daily visitor during the specified time slot to ensure social distancing rules are adhered to and to maintain the safety of patients and staff.
  • The visitor will be allowed to stay with the patient for an agreed period of time to ensure that all patients who wish to receive a visit are given the opportunity. This will be based on the individual circumstances and ward environment to ensure that all necessary infection prevention measures are in place. Due to varying activities in the ward environments, time slots may vary. Should there be a need for alternative visiting arrangements, this must be discussed with the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse.
  • Visitors must wear appropriate PPE (surgical face coverings). Children are not encouraged to visit and should only do so in extenuating circumstances.
  • The allocated visitor must remain as the only visitor during the admission period. Visitors will be asked to stay within the bed area of the patient throughout the duration of the stay. Visitors’ toilet facilities are available and staff can direct people as necessary.
  • Hospital restaurants remain closed to visitors however, in exceptional circumstances arrangements can be made through the Ward Sister or Charge Nurse for take away meals to be purchased.
  • Essential support assistants (such as interpreters or essential carers) are not classed as visitors. Please discuss this with your health professional.

Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “On behalf of the health board I want to reiterate our deepest thanks and gratitude to our communities, our patients and their families for your understanding and adherence to the very strict hospital visiting rules that we have had to impose throughout this pandemic.  Your diligence and awareness of the need to keep loved ones safe in hospital has been key in our efforts to fight the virus.

“We know that visitors are essential to the wellbeing of our patients, and wherever we can, we will support you to be with your loved one.  We are committed to avoiding the spread of the virus within our hospitals and keeping our patients, family, carers and staff as safe as possible.

“This does mean that for the time being, we need to ensure that we continue to exercise caution, and I want to stress that this is not a full return to normality.  We understand that some visitors may feel disappointed if you aren’t able to attend in person, but I want to assure you that the measures we are putting in place are safe, proportionate and responsible and we look forward to gradually easing further restrictions as circumstances allow.”

Patients, where able, may use their own phones to communicate with family and friends. Those that need assistance can be supported to communicate via Facetime or other supported social platforms.

The health board does not require visitors to be tested for COVID-19 prior to an arranged hospital visit and cannot facilitate testing of visitors on-site. However, visitors may wish to undertake a lateral flow test at home before they visit loved ones and testing kits can be accessed via the UK portal and posted to your home address or can be picked up from our ‘test collect’ sites (between 9.30am and 12.30pm, with the exception of Carmarthen Showground which is between 8.00am and 1.00pm).

Please do not visit any hospital sites if you have been asked to isolate by the contact tracing team or if you have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 – a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change of taste or smell. If you experience any of these symptoms please book a PCR COVID-19 test via the UK portal or by ringing 119. You should also book a test if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, including runny or blocked nose, sore throat, muscle ache or pain, excessive tiredness; persistent headache, persistent sneezing and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing.

When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:

  • My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or
  • A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.

News

Covid-19 cases highest in Tenby; lots of new cases in Neyland and Pembroke Dock

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THE NUMBER of Covid-19 infections still taking place in Pembrokeshire is still significant, with the latest figues broken down per town now released.

Tenby has the highest prevalence in the general population at the present time.

The figures show that Pembroke Dock and Neyland have reported the most new cases with 59 and 60 new cases each.

This is the coronavirus rate and number of new cases for every area across Pembrokeshire are as follows:

  • St Davids & Letterston: 30 new cases; a rate of 394.6 per 100,000 people.
  • Johnston, Broad Haven & St Ishmaels: 39 new cases; a rate of 466.6 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Milford Haven West: 49 new cases; a rate of 641.4 per 100,000 people.
  • Milford Haven East: 37 new cases; a rate of 495.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke West & Castlemartin: 34 new cases; 459.8 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke East & Manorbier: 25 new cases; a rate of 324.8 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Pembroke Dock: 59 new cases; a rate of 610.5 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Neyland: 60 new cases; a rate of 690.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Haverfordwest South: 52 new cases; a rate of 727.2 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Haverfordwest North: 47 new cases; a rate of 661.0 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Crundale, Clynderwen & Maenclochog: 64 new cases; a rate of 888.3 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Fishguard: 39 new cases; a rate of 393.6 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Cilgerran & Crymych: 30 new cases; a rate of 353.2 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Narberth: 29 new cases; a rate of 422.0 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Saundersfoot: 29 new cases; a rate of 341.4 cases per 100,000 people.
  • Tenby & Caldey: 40 new cases; a rate of 658.4 cases per 100,000 people.

Cllr Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council said on Friday: “I must repeat that Covid-19 has not gone away and the wave of positive cases sweeping across Europe is a concern.
“People continue to catch this awful virus every day. Unfortunately, people are still dying from Covid-19.
“It is human nature to want to forget about Covid as the festive season approaches, I totally understand that.
“Like everyone, I was so disappointed when the tighter restrictions had to be brought in just before Christmas last year.
“And like everyone I’m thinking about buying gifts, planning festive events and looking forward to the celebrations.
“But I would please ask that you also keep in mind the simple things we can all do to give ourselves the best protection against Covid-19 and slow down the spread.”

Council Covid-19 team in Tenby earlier this year (Pic PCC)

Cllr Simpson said that People in Pembrokeshire should continue to work from home where you can, take up vaccination including the booster when offered, keep your distance where possible, use face coverings where required, maintain hand hygiene, meet outdoors when the weather allows and let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors.

He said that Christmas parties is one particular area where I would ask people to take extra care.

Cllr Simpson said: “Please consider smaller group numbers than you might ordinarily and try to avoid mixing with too many other people.”

“Remember that Covid-19 loves busy indoor spaces.

“Please do what you can to protect yourself and others.

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News

Appeal following public order incident in Monkton last month

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POLICE in south Pembrokeshire are appealing for witnesses or anybody with information after a ‘public order incident’ occurred in in Monkton last month.

The incident occurred on Long Mains between 9.30pm and 10pm on the evening of Thursday, October 21.

Dyfed-Powys Police said: “Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

“Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.”

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Health

Hospital visiting restrictions relaxed in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokehire

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FAMILY and friends can now attend hospitals in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to visit patients on a limited basis with prior agreement with hospital staff in line with Welsh Government guidance.

While the prevalence of COVID-19 has reduced within our hospitals and in the community, the virus has not gone away. Like some other areas across Wales and the UK we are continuing to deal with cases of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections in our hospitals. As a result, visiting arrangements to all hospitals in Hywel Dda UHB are being reviewed regularly and remain subject to change at short notice.

With effect from Monday 29 November, all visits must be pre-arranged with the ward sister or charge nurse to enable us to maintain social distancing in our wards and across our sites. This means that a pre-booked visit for one person daily can be supported, provided your visit has a clear purpose and is in the best interest of the patient, in line with the following guidance:

‘Visiting with a purpose’:

  • End of life – last days of life
  • Carer – you are the carer or the nominated representative
  • Parent/Guardian – children and young people can be supported in an inpatient environment by the identified parent/guardian
  • Learning disabilities (LD) – a patient with learning disabilities may need you as their carer/next of kin to share information about their individual needs and virtual visiting may not be appropriate
  • Dementia – to support a person with Dementia as part of the ongoing support/plan of care
  • Other – for example where it is felt a visit from you may help the patient with rehabilitation, understanding of care/condition, help with dietary concerns. The ward sister may agree visiting outside of this guidance in certain circumstances.

The current visiting arrangements within our maternity services remain unchanged at this time.

Please note that visitors who do not meet the criteria will be asked to use a virtual visiting option instead which is available within the hospital, such as using a tablet or mobile phone. Family Liaison Officers will be available on wards to support access to virtual visiting.

All visitors must carry out a lateral flow device (LFD) test at home and have a negative result from that test prior to travelling to the hospital. Lateral flow self-test kits can be obtained by:

It is recommended that test results – negative or positive – are recorded on the UK Government portal (www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result)

When visiting our hospitals please remember to wear a face covering, this will be replaced by a surgical face mask at reception or ward entrance. Please remember to maintain social distancing and to clean your hands on entering the building and as often as possible using soap and water or hand sanitiser.

Mandy Rayani, Executive Director of Nursing, Quality and Patient Experience, said: “On behalf of the health board I want to express our deepest gratitude to our patients, their families and our communities for their continued understanding and adherence to the very strict hospital visiting rules that we have had to impose throughout this pandemic. 

“We appreciate that it is a difficult time for everyone. We will continue to support the wellbeing of our patients/service users, their families and loved ones in the best way we can, while keeping everyone as safe as possible.

“Our patient support team and family liaison officers can help to deliver essential items to patients from their family and facilitate communication through digital options/telephone; if you need their assistance please call them on and 0300 0200 159 and they will do their best to help you.”

Please do not visit any of our hospital sites if you:

  1. are unwell, have flu like symptoms, currently have or had diarrhoea and vomiting in past 48 hours, have been in contact with anyone with the above symptoms in the last 48 hours have an existing medical condition or are on medication that puts you at risk of infection. Infection control advice – Hywel Dda University Health Board (nhs.wales)
  2. have been asked to isolate by the contact tracing team or if you have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 – a new continuous cough, temperature or loss or change of taste or smell. If you experience any of these symptoms please book a COVID-19 PCR test via the UK portal or by ringing 119. You should also book a test if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, including runny or blocked nose, sore throat, muscle ache or pain, excessive tiredness; persistent headache, persistent sneezing and/or hoarseness, shortness of breath or wheezing. When booking your PCR test, you will also be asked about your symptoms: if you have mild cold or flu-like symptoms, rather than the classic three symptoms, choose ‘None of these symptoms’ and then choose one of the following options to enable you to complete the booking:
  • My local council or health protection team has asked me to get a test, even though I do not have symptoms or
  • A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me to get a test.
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