Visiting Dorset’s community hospitals and mental health units

21st March 2022

Inpatients at Dorset HealthCare’s community hospital wards and mental health units may now have two visitors to reflect changes to COVID-19 restrictions and national guidance.

People can come in to see their loved ones on an appointment basis, arranged in advance with the ward. This is to ensure the Trust knows who is on the ward and that there are not too many people in ward areas at any one time.

All visitors to the Trust’s sites are still required to wear face coverings, sanitise their hands and comply with social distancing guidelines.

This goes hand-in-hand with national advice to continue safe and responsible behaviours to minimise the spread of the virus, particularly to those who may become seriously ill if infected with COVID-19. The Trust is also asking those who have access to lateral flow kits to test and provide evidence of the result on arrival.

Cases are currently on the rise, so it’s important to follow simple steps to help avoid catching and spreading COVID-19. These include:

  • get vaccinated – vaccines are the best defence we have against the virus and will help us all live safely with COVID-19. Jabs are available for everyone aged five and over. Find out where to get vaccinated
  • avoid other people if you have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive – you should particularly avoid meeting people at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from the virus, especially those with a severely weakened immune system. Do not visit our sites if you have COVID-19 symptoms or someone within your household is COVID-19 positive
  • let fresh air in if you meet indoors – meeting outdoors is safer
  • consider wearing a face covering – especially in crowded and enclosed spaces
  • remember hand washing and the basics of good hygiene – cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces that are touched frequently such as door handles, light switches and TV remote controls.

As part of the national Living with COVID plan, self-isolation is not legally required if you test positive for COVID-19 but staying at home remains the best way to avoid spreading the virus and helping to protect others.

Cara Southgate, Dorset HealthCare’s Deputy Director of Nursing, Therapies and Quality, said:

“While restrictions are being removed, the pandemic is not over and COVID-19 remains in circulation. As we all learn to live with COVID, we must remain vigilant to help protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff.

“Vaccines are our first line of defence, and it is vital that everyone eligible takes up the offer of their latest jab. Cleaning our hands, ventilating rooms well, and wearing a mask in enclosed spaces are simple steps that will also help minimise risk.”

Although the Trust’s visiting guidance has changed, visiting remains restricted to see inpatients who have COVID-19, except for compassionate reasons – for example, to see people receiving end-of-life care.

If you are unable to visit a friend or relative in person, staff can arrange for you to speak to them via a video call – also known as ‘virtual visiting’. Find out more.

For further information on visiting inpatients, outpatient appointments and details of all Dorset’s community hospitals and mental health units, click here.



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