End-of-life visiting at Bradford Teaching Hospitals

FOLLOWING the Secretary of State for Health’s announcement on April 15 about end-of-life visiting for patients with coronavirus, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has changed visiting arrangements at its hospitals.

The Trust has reviewed its arrangements in line with additional guidance from the Infection Prevention Society and the British Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Both organisations recommend that being with a loved-one at the end of their life represents a special circumstance when, wherever possible, a health or social care organisation should take a safe and compassionate approach that allows an immediate family member or significant other to be with a dying patient at the end of their life.

Karen Dawber, the Trust’s Chief Nurse, said: “We currently allow visiting for the majority of patients who are at the end of their lives, except in areas where patients get mechanical support for breathing.

“In light of the Secretary of State’s announcement, from Friday, April 17, we will be reinstating end-of-life visiting to patients in all areas. However, to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, we will be introducing a new process for visits to our intensive care units:

  • If a patient is near the end of their life, their clinician will contact their next of kin and give them the opportunity to visit their loved-one.  The visit is by appointment only and will normally take place between 10am and 4pm, for a maximum of 30 minutes on the ward. This service is available seven days a week.
  • On arrival, the visitor will be met by members of our support team who will explain the process, including the wearing of essential personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • The support team will also assess the risks in relation to the visitor’s own health, and explain any specific risks to be considered, before the visitor enters the ward.
  • The visitor will be offered the chance to make a video call to the clinical area where their loved one is, and if they wish, will be supported to see them in person.
  • Visitors will be supported before, during and after their visit by team members who are experienced in end-of-life care and the issues this can raise.

“For patients with coronavirus who are near the end of their life and are on other wards, we will offer similar visiting arrangements, which must also be agreed with the ward in advance.

“We realise that any restriction on visiting is extremely hard on families when a loved-one is dying, but we must take these important steps to keep our visitors, staff and wider population safe. I would like to thank all families and friends for their understanding during these very difficult times.”

We ask that visitors please do not contact the intensive care units or wards for information about end-of-life visiting: our clinicians will call next of kin if this becomes necessary.

Anyone who wishes to enquire about their loved ones in our hospitals with coronavirus can get an update from clinically qualified staff by calling our Relatives’ Information Line on 01274 272747. The line is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.