Changes to visiting and inpatient leave arrangements across Kent and Medway mental health services from 6th January 2022

Date added: 06 January 2022

Information as of 6th January 2022

Due to the rise of COVID-19 infections we will be temporarily restricting visiting and inpatient leave on our wards to protect the safety of our patients, their loved ones and our staff.

This will start immediately (Thursday 6th January 2022) and will be reviewed on the 17th January 2022.

The key changes are as follows:

  • Patient leave will be restricted to on-site ground leave for all patients on any inpatient ward. Patients can still go out in the grounds for fresh air and exercise but cannot go on home leave, to the shops or meet up with friends, family or others from outside of the hospital. Home leave can be considered by ward staff in exceptional circumstances in the best interest of the patient. This does not stop patients being discharged as usual in line with current policy and infection control protocols.
  • Visits to wards by friends, family and nonessential visitors will cease other than for the following exceptional circumstances:
    • For patients receiving end of life care
    • For the loved ones of patients with specific needs requiring support. This might include autistic people and those who have dementia or a learning disability.

If you would like to visit in these exceptional circumstances, please contact the ward directly and agree this with them before travelling.

Guidance for exceptional visits

If a visit is agreed this will be made by appointment only, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

All visits will take place in a dedicated, ventilated room with enough space for safe social distancing. The maximum visiting time is one hour.

We would kindly ask that visitors:

  • Take a lateral flow test before arriving and do not visit if you or any member of your house have a positive diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Wear a face covering at all times, unless medically exempt.
  • Wash and sanitise their hands before and after your visit.
  • Bring as few personal belongings with you as possible, including gifts and food for the person you are visiting

Virtual visits

Our staff will encourage virtual visits and help patients access technology on their own devices where this is safe to do so to keep in touch with their friends and families

We know this is a challenging time and all of us at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust thank you for playing your part in keeping our patients, staff and community safe.