24 Hour Visiting

Introduction of After-Hours Visiting


Our patients, families and visitors have been asking about the possibility of being able to visit or spend time with patients outside of normal visiting hours.  Our research also showed that other healthcare facilities that have made visiting hours more flexible found the presence of family members outside of normal visiting hours has a positive impact on the recovery of the patient.


The project


ADHB is committed to encouraging patients to have more choice over the circumstances of their healthcare.  Because flexibility around visiting hours has been asked for, a project has been started which looks at the current rules around visiting times and how after-hours visiting could be introduced.  The goal is to work out how to maintain appropriate standards of care whilst introducing enough flexibility to enable patients to have the support they need throughout their stay without affecting the care and comfort of other patients.  Planning and Engagement Manager, Tony O'Connor, says "this improvement initiative is about balancing patients' choice over whether or not they have a support person with them after visiting hours with the need for ADHB staff to maintain the right level of healthcare service for all patients in their care."


We asked your opinion


To help work through what the new arrangements should be staff, patients and families were asked about current visiting rules and their thoughts about after-hours visiting. There was a lot of interest in this topic and the key themes that emerged were: positive support for more flexibility around visiting in general and a belief that patients benefit greatly from having family with them whenever they need to be there.  There were also concerns about potential noise and crowding as a result of allowing families to visit any time but that this could be managed by limiting the numbers of after-hours people visiting to one support person nominated by the patient.


What we have done about it


New visiting guidelines which incorporate 24 hour visiting rules have been drafted and are being piloted in the Awatea Ward (Older Persons Health).  Six other wards will join this pilot over the next few months.  During this trial period, how 24 hours visiting works in practice will be monitored and assessed.  Any complications or unforeseen issues will be worked through with staff, patients and families and visitor guidelines amended as needed.  Once the pilot is completed with the new approach working well for all, this new approach to visiting after-hours will be adopted throughout the ADHB.  People will be able find out all about how this will work for them through wide ranging communications activites that are planned to coincide with the rollout.  More on this as it comes to hand.