NHS Fife introduces new 'Welcome Ward' visiting arrangements

Published: Wednesday 25 Sep 2019

Hospitals in Fife are making visiting arrangements more flexible with the introduction of Welcome Wards.

From Tuesday October 1st, friends and family will be able to visit patients in Fife 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Welcome Wards will see a shift away from fixed visiting to open visiting in a move that has already been successfully trialled in a number of NHS Fife hospital wards.

NHS Fife Director of Nursing, Helen Buchanan, said:

“It is well recognised that the presence of friends and relatives can play a crucial role in recovering from illness or injury. Friends and family often tell us that they are unable to get to hospital at set visiting times for various reasons, such as working patterns or childcare commitments, and many people rely on public transport schedules. We believe that Welcome Wards will remove some of these barriers and, in turn, reduce the stress which is associated with having a relative or friend in hospital.

“Welcome Wards have already been trialled in a number of areas and we have received really positive feedback. Aside from increased convenience for visitors, patients like the fact that they are able to connect with family, friends and carers more often, giving them company when they may be feeling a bit low in an unfamiliar environment. Having the people that matter to you most beside you at a time when you really need them is very important.”

Cara Smith is a Charge Nurse in the Gynaecology Ward at the Victoria Hospital. Cara’s area was one of the first areas to trial the Welcome Ward:

“Patients like the Welcome Ward arrangements because they have more interaction with loved ones throughout the day and it is easier for friends and families to come and see them – sometimes patients can feel guilty about visitors having to come in at specific times, perhaps having to take time off work, and the Welcome Ward eases their tension around that.

“Welcome Wards also has benefits for staff. It can be easier for us to communicate with families – and vice versa – while the patient is in our care.”

Welcome Wards will be introduced across NHS Fife on the 1st October and the new arrangements will be promoted to patients, family and friends upon admission to hospital.

For more information on Welcome Wards please visit www.nhsfife.org/visiting.


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