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Visiting Trial At Waikato Hospital Extended

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New visiting hours at Waikato Hospital trialled over six weeks are so successful there has been an extension until the end of the year.

There were a number of big pluses out of the trial, Health Waikato chief operating officer Jan Adams told the Health Waikato Advisory Committee meeting today.

"We've seen better demand breast feeding rates in our maternity facilities as mothers are able to get the peace and quiet they require with their babies," she said.

Cleaning of the wards also improved as cleaners got better access to rooms while feedback from patients and visitors was overwhelmingly in favour of the change.

The new visiting times - 11am-1.30pm and 4pm-8pm - replaced the previous ad-hoc arrangements.

"We'd slid to this position and what we saw happening was that wards instigated their own hours which suggest to me that our patients were tired," said Mrs Adams.

"Since we introduced this in early September, it's obvious the hospital is much, much quieter. Staff, particularly the nurses, love the added opportunity they now get to concentrate on patient care."

The only real issue arising out of the trial came with the lunchtime visiting option, which was one of the reasons for the extension so there can be an evaluation done.

"Some wards would prefer this to go while others want it as families offer support for feeding. Our view is that if patients are requiring support, such as this, then this is separate to visiting hours and is part of the care plan made with the family."

Mrs Adams said there had been issues around the strict enforcement of the hours, which nursing and midwifery director Sue Hayward planned to work through with individual wards.

"Clinical nurse managers can make "exceptions" so patients will and can have an identified support person with them at different times outside of the public visiting hours," said Mrs Adams.

Consultation with shuttle service operators from rural areas will form part of the ongoing evaluation.

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