Most hospitals have made bespoke alterations and changes to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
Examples of hospital refurbishments include plastic screens between seats and open wards, one way walking systems and separate waiting rooms for visitors over patients that are being seen. For instance, in maternity wards, during appointments the partners or family members are expected to wait in a separate room to the patient being seen.
Currently, whether visitors are permitted inside is dependent on the hospital, but there are a strict set of rules to follow if visitors are permitted.
Visitors are advised not to sit on the patient’s bed, touch any wounds or medical equipment, share toiletries or leave any items in any communal area. Hands should always be sanitised on entry and exit, and you should not visit a hospital if you show any signs of COVID-19.
Social distancing is advised at all times in order to prevent the spread of disease. Any patient who has an appointment and is capable of going alone is strongly advised to do so, and should arrive as close to their appointment time as is possible. Face coverings should also be worn whenever possible.
Masks must be worn
During the pandemic, many countries have made it compulsory to wear masks at all times, whilst others have made it compulsory to wear masks in designated areas or facilities, such as schools, shops and hospitals. Currently, masks must be worn when visiting a hospital or GP surgery in order to reduce the risk of contamination.
Masks are worn by all NHS personnel and any patient who is able to wear one at all times. There has also been an increase in NHS staff wearing PPE and changing it more frequently in order to ensure the highest level of care.
There are exceptions to the rule, with some patients being unable to wear a mask, not being required to if they have breathing difficulties or private rooms, or being under examination.
Increased levels of cleanliness
Hospital staff have always been required to keep communal areas as clean as possible in order to reduce the risk of contamination and infection, however this has rapidly increased since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are now more sanitation gels and hand washing stations available throughout hospitals, and staff are required to sanitise their hands before entering and leaving any patients’ room.
Hospitals are cleaning in line with public health requirements, meaning that they are disinfecting surfaces with 1000ppm chlorine with all staff having completed full prevention training. Some hospitals also have specific pathways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with different routes for various treatments and in-patient stays.