Coming to hospital can be an unsettling time, both for yourself and your family, friends or carers. We want to ensure that you feel as relaxed, reassured and comfortable as possible during your stay. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to talk to a member of our staff.
Your visitors are welcome to come and see you during your stay with one of our services. This includes our secure forensic mental health units.
We ask all visitors to contact the ward team to arrange a visit (these details can be found on our site pages). They will talk you through the restrictions in place and how many visitors are allowed at one time.
You will be asked to wear a face covering (unless you are exempt), social distance from other people on site and sanitise your hands on a regular basis.
Where possible, we will arrange for the visit to take place outdoors, in a garden or courtyard - if the patient is able to (and depending on the weather forecast). Alternatively, we will designate a room for visitors. We ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before and after use
Unfortunately the restrictions on visiting and the number of visitors allowed will change depending on the Government's position and the number of COVID-19 cases we may be experiencing at the time.
Visiting hours will vary depending on the ward. Please contact the ward directly for more information (these details can be found on our site pages).
We normally ask that visits don’t co-inside with meal times or during group or individual activities.
Our Forensic units have special rules about items that are allowed into visiting areas. You will be advised of the steps to take on arrival but items such as mobile phones, cameras and lighters will need to be stowed away in the lockers available.
Visits by Children
It is important for children and their parents to stay in contact and be assured each other are OK. Children can visit by arrangement with the ward manager. We have specially designed family visiting rooms at most of our sites to provide the right environment for families to spend time together.
Typically, some of the things you’ll be asked to bring with you for a stay in hospital include:
- Your regular medication. This will be taken from you so we can store it securely and dispense to you during your stay
- Nightwear and daywear
- Shoes and/or sturdy slippers
Your service will advise you about what other items you should bring. If you're not sure, please ask a member of staff.
For more details of what to bring to a mental health ward, please see our Mental Health Inpatient Services page or Older Person's Mental Health Inpatient Services page.
Please do not bring
- Too many items – keeping your ward or room clutter free helps keep you and others safe from trips, falls and other hazards.
- Your own bedding or quilts. For health and safety reasons we can’t normally allow this so please leave it at home.
- Valuables – we can’t accept responsibility for loss or damage of valuables or personal items, so please try to leave valuable or sentimental items at home
The staff on your ward or unit will be able to advise further as to what to bring and not bring during your stay.
As a provider of healthcare, we treat very vunerable people every single day. We have to make sure we continue to keep these people, and our staff, safe from COVID-19. To keep all of us safe here is what you must do when visiting our sites or staff:
- Wear a face covering or mask (unless you are exempt)
- Wash your hands or use the gel provided to keep them clean
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, do not come into the hospital unless it is an emergency.
- Continue to social distance by 2metres including when using the lifts or corridors.
More information can be found on our Coronavirus information pages.
Coronavirus visiting precautions
We ask that visitors do not visit if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, you are within a self-isolation period or you have tested positive.
At Southern Health we are committed to reducing all infection. We do this in a number of ways.
Specialist Infection Prevention and Control Team
We work in conjunction with Trust staff to deliver high standards of infection prevention and control as a multi-disciplinary team. The team comprises of:
- Director of Infection Prevention & Control
- Lead Nurse Infection Prevention & Control
- Infection Control Nurses
- Access to Microbiologists
The Trust monitors, reports and thoroughly investigates blood stream and C.difficile infections occurring a few days after admission. The Infection Prevention and Control team regularly monitor results from the laboratory and advise staff on the best way to care for patients with transmissible infections. This helps to ensure that infections do not spread.
We test most patients for MRSA on admission to a physical health or older persons mental health ward. This enables us to provide the correct care and reduce the risk of spreading the bacteria to others. If you are found to have the bacteria on your skin, this information will be shared with you. If you have gone home, your GP will be informed.
We place great importance on providing a clean hospital and monitors standards on a daily basis. The wards and patient rooms at Southern Health hospitals are cleaned on a daily basis. if there are concerns that infection is present, there is a system of routine cleaning procedures in place, as well as periodic enhanced cleaning methods.
If you have any concerns about the cleanliness of the hospital either as a visitor or patient, please do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the staff.
We have alcohol rub at entrances of the hospital and wards and also at the point of care, where it is safe to do so. Cleaning our hands is one of the most important things that we can all do to prevent infection.
In all of our inpatient facilities, men and women are cared for separately. This is to help respect your privacy and dignity. When you don’t have your own bathroom, you’ll also find a same-sex bathroom and toilet near to your ward or bedroom. Read our ‘privacy and dignity' page for more information.
If you’re admitted to one of our mental health services you will have your own room, and in most cases your own bathroom too.
When you arrive at one of our hospitals or inpatient services, you’ll be shown around your ward and introduced to staff. You will also be given an explanation of the routine on the ward, such as meal times and visiting hours.
We will always try to cater for your religious or cultural needs. Most of our inpatient facilities will have multi-faith rooms and access to the chaplaincy service.
You can find out more about your Privacy and Dignity rights here.
Don't forget, you can stay in contact with the patient by phone or with a video call using a tablet or laptop computer to stay in contact.
We have all got more used to using technology in the last few months and all of our inpatient units have IPADs to help stay in touch
Although these steps may seem strange at first, we will all get used to them.
The most important thing is that we avoid the spread of infection and ensure that patients and visitors are able to spend time together
Thank you for your assistance in keeping everyone safe
Please help us to improve the health of the people in our care. Avoid bringing drink or food that has a high sugar content such as juice, fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate.
Foods that are high in fat such as deep fried food, pizza or other takeaway meals should be limited to just 1-2 times a week.
These foodstuffs are fine in small amounts. But we all need to look after our health and work to reduce the risk of obesity and health issues that come from being overweight. We want the patients in our care to become healthier during their time with us, so please help them to reach their optimum health.
Southern Health is proud to be a Smoke-Free Trust. All of our hospitals operate a strict no smoking policy. Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products is not allowed on any of the grounds or in any of the buildings run by us. This applies to patients, staff, carers and visitors to Trust premises.
Our goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone we care for and, by making sure that our NHS services are smoke-free, we benefit the health of people who use our services as well as the health of the people who work for us.
People who are admitted to our hospitals have the option to temporarily stop smoking during their stay, or to make a quit attempt with support from a trained member of staff. For both options, we provide nicotine replacement products to help with the cravings for a cigarette, so no-one is forced to experience the effects of nicotine withdrawal. Products such as patches, lozenges, mouth sprays and e-cigarettes are all available and we work with our patients to find the one that works best for them, alongside their existing medication, as part of their care plan.