Visiting guidance

Visiting information

We actively encourage visiting and the involvement of visitors and carers while patients are in hospital. Keeping contact with friends and relatives is an important part of a patient’s treatment, care and recovery.

When to visit

We operate ‘open visiting’ across all our hospital sites 10am – 8pm, but please understand there are certain wards, certain illnesses and certain patients where we need to provide more privacy, more rest, or where fewer visitors would be better for our patients. The nursing and medical staff will consider this carefully and we ask that you respect their professional judgement.

Visiting Patients

We request that only two people are at the bedside at any time.

Visits by children are at the discretion of the nurse in charge.

Visiting times, and the number of people present, may be extended for compassionate reasons, or restricted if this is appropriate for the patient’s needs.

You may be asked to wear a facemask in certain circumstances.

Patients may become tired and need to rest. Please remember other patients may wish to rest or sleep during visiting hours
If you have a problem visiting within the identified times, please ask one of the nurses who will make arrangements to suit your needs.

We will not tolerate violence and abuse towards our staff and anyone behaving inappropriately will be asked to leave the premises. If the patient is happy for you to do so, please ask the nurse for an update on the patient’s condition, when they are going to be discharged and how you can help to get them home.

When not to visit

Do not come to visit if you are feeling unwell, for example with a cough or cold. If you have had diarrhoea or vomiting, please allow 48 hours after symptoms have completely gone before you visit again.

If the hospital is experiencing difficulties with an outbreak of infection, please do not bring young children or frail, elderly visitors. (They may be at risk from the infection)

Visiting is discouraged during mealtimes unless you have agreed with the nurse in charge to help the patient to eat. Patient mealtimes may differ from ward to ward or hospital site. If possible, please contact the ward by phone to check before visiting.

Hand Hygiene

Please use alcohol gel or soap and water on your hands when you arrive and leave the ward and respect visiting restrictions that may need to be introduced for the purpose of infection control.

Hospital environment

High standards of cleanliness are important. A cleaning services colleague may ask you to move to allow thorough cleaning around the patient’s bed.

For your safety they will also alert you to any wet floors. When you leave the hospital, please make sure you take your belongings with you and place your rubbish in a bin.  If you visit an area where the standard of cleanliness is not what you expect, please tell a member of staff.

Maternity services

For visiting guidance for the following services:

  • Maternity
  • Delivery suite and birth centre
  • Wheal Rose
  • Wheal Fortune

Help prevent the spread of infection

There are plenty of things you can do to help us, these include:

  • Wash or clean your hands before and after visiting the hospital and always after using the toilet.
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands and make sure you wash and dry them thoroughly. There are handwash sinks at the entrance to all of our wards.
  • There are also hand-gel stations at the entrances to our hospitals.
  • Please don’t sit on your friend/family member’s bed, or on other patients’ beds.
  • If you have symptoms such as flu, diarrhoea or vomiting or infections such as chicken pox, please do not visit because you could easily infect someone else.
  • We don’t recommend that young children visit, please talk to the nurse in charge beforehand if you’d like them to.

If anything to do with infection prevention is worrying you, feel free to challenge staff, they won’t mind. You can also always speak to a senior member of staff. Our infection prevention team also provides a 24-hour advice and guidance service.

Find out more about how we work to prevent infection on our quality and safety standards page.

For some top tips on washing your hands well see this BBC video.

Can I bring in flowers, gifts or food?

To help keep patient areas clean and clear we would prefer you not to bring in flowers, large gifts or hot food. We also need to consider other patients allergies and tastes, so please check with the nurses on the ward before you bring in any items.

Where to borrow a wheelchair for your visit

  • Royal Cornwall Hospital – Trelawny Entrance, Tower Entrance, Link Corridor Entrance (by Lowen Ward) and Maternity Entrance
  • St Michaels Hospital – Main Entrance
  • West Cornwall Hospital – Main Entrance

The chairs are operated by a £1 coin and they do not accept cards; however there is a cashpoint and a shop in the foyer there – there is also a receptionist there who can usually let a wheelchair out for you.

These wheelchairs are push only and are not able to be self-operated. Porters are available to push patients to their appointments.

Other useful pages

You can use the below navigation to find other useful information, helping you plan your visit:

Page last reviewed: 18 October 2023

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