Visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic

We know it is important for you to visit your loved ones while COVID-19 continues.

We must remain vigilant and adhere to our visiting policies in line with national guidance, helping to protect the health and wellbeing of our patients, communities and staff.

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The basics

Two visitors are permitted to visit a patient at an inpatient ward and our hospital matrons and ward leads do have the discretion to support more visitors where requested.

At the majority of our sites these visits do not have to be arranged in advance, however some wards are continuing to limit visiting numbers and an appointment-based system remains in operation.

We would therefore recommend friends or family wishing to visit inpatients, contact the relevant ward to check if an appointment needs to be made before visiting.


Facemask.pngAll visitors must wear an appropriate surgical facemask covering provided when entering and moving through the healthcare setting, unless medically exempt for which evidence should be provided.


wash-your-hands.pngAll visitors must observe good hand hygiene (handwashing) to reduce risks to the visitor, other patients, and staff.



Anyone with a COVID-positive test or showing symptoms of coronavirus (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste or cold type symptoms) should not visit, even if these symptoms are mild or intermittent, due to the risk they pose to others.


What can I expect when I visit?

Before arrival

  • Call the ward and check if an appointment needs to be made in advance
  • If an appointment needs to be made in advance:
    • A member of staff will ask you about any high-risk conditions you or members of your household may have. Depending on your answers, you may be advised not to visit.
    • You will be given instructions on where to go and who to ask for on your arrival at the hospital.
  • If possible, to minimise the risk of exposure to others arrange to drive or be driven to and from the healthcare setting. 
  • Babies and young children visiting inpatient is at the discreation of the nurse in charge of the ward.

On arrival

  • All visitors to Dorset HealthCare sites will be asked to wear a surgical facemask unless can provide evidence of exemption
  • You will be given instructions on the length of time that you can stay for your visit
  • You should limit the number of personal belongings you bring with you
  • You should remove your outer clothing, clean and dry your hands when entering.


During your visit

  • Limit your movement around the ward as much as possible.
  • In some areas, in addition to wearing a face covering you may be required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Staff will guide and support you in this if it is required. Going to the toilet and having had a small drink before putting on PPE can help avoid the need to remove it and put it back on during the visit.
  • You will be informed of how to signal if you need any support or when you would like to leave.

After your visit

  • Please wash your hands or use the hand santiser provided at entrance and esits to wards.  

The visiting times for all of our hospitals are 2-4pm and 6-8pm, seven days a week, including bank holidays. You do not need to contact the hospital in advance to attend but, if you'd like to, you can contact the hospital directly.

If you are unable to visit in person, please talk to the staff about arranging a virtual visit.

Visiting sites and inpatient wards