Some discussion of an issue, perceived or real, with the published visiting hours of a hospital

mike stone 13/05/19 Dignity Champions forum

I came across information about the visiting hours for my local hospital in a leaflet recently, and I'm trying to get the hospital to discuss what is written: there seems to be factors including, probably, 'perception' and 'authority' involved.

The PDF [which I've written to serve as a basis for discussion, if I manage to get a discussion going] explains 'my issues', in so far as I am able to do that.

In the PDF I mentioned a Twitter Poll which I posted, and which has 3 days left until it closes - I asked if there are 'power structures' in the NHS

and if anyone is on Twitter and wants to vote, please do.

Associated files and links:

Post a reply

Carol Wilkinson 13/05/19

Hi Mike

I don't do Twitter ot Facebook etc so I can't view your PDF to look at your 'issues'

I work in our local hospital so I am interested to hear your thoughts on visiting times.

mike stone 13/05/19

Hi Carol,

Doesn't my PDF open, when you click on its title (associated files and links) in my original post? I can't really do it as well in 'plain text' which is why I created the PDF - if you can't get it to open, I would need to e-mail it to you.

I'll see what I can 'extract' as plain text, but it is much better to read the PDF if you can do that.

mike stone 14/05/19


I've decided to copy-and-paste the e-mail which I sent to some of the people at UHCW: there was some emphasis (italics and bolds) in the e-mail which I can't do here, but I hope this covers 'the gist' ?

Dear All,

I am e-mailing because I am less-than-happy, with something in ‘We Care’ issue 3.

I have been discussing this with Kathryn Mannix on Twitter, and it seems to partly be ‘a matter of perception or implication’: she thinks what I read is ‘fine’ but I don’t.

On the final page of We Care (issue 3), there is a section ‘A visitor’s guide’ and we can read:

The official visiting hours for the Trust are: Monday to Friday 6.30pm to 8.00pm.

This is my issue – I write about end-of-life, and for the purposes of this e-mail I will be using ‘dying’ to mean ‘in the final few days of life’: and for dying patients those visiting hours are not appropriate.

Kathryn pointed out on Twitter ‘I’m sure those hours would be relaxed if the patient is dying’ and I imagine she is correct – but that isn’t my point.

My point, hinges on the word ‘official’ - although your publication makes it clear that wider visiting hours are open to negotiation, and Kathryn sees that as perfectly fine, my position is that dying patients and the relatives/friends of dying patients, should have an expectation that visiting will be subject to as few restrictions as possible: in essence I consider that the ‘official visiting hours’ for dying patients should be ‘all day’ and then if necessary, the staff should ‘negotiate’ any necessary restrictions.

Even if very similar visiting arrangements might eventually emerge, as a former family-carer during EoL, I see it as significantly conceptually different to have very limited official visiting hours which visitors extend by negotiation, compared to as-relaxed-as-possible visiting hours which staff negotiate restrictions to.

Personally, if a dying wife is in a single room, and her husband wishes to visit at 4am, I have no problem with that at all – clearly it would be different if a shared ward was involved – but, I’m not going to ‘debate’ the specifics here, I am simply stating that your ‘official hours’ as stated in We Care look rather like ‘fitting the patient and visitors into what works best for the hospital’, and my position is that when patients are dying it should instead be [and look like] ‘the hospital’s behaviour being fitted to the requirements of the patient and the visitors’.

You do seem to understand that dying is different to being cured: you have a Bereavement Suite, but personally I do not see those ‘official visiting hours’ as being ‘from the same song sheet’ as compassionate treatment of the bereaved.

I would be interested in your comments, so I hope you send me some (please do not suggest a phone call – I’ve never found phone calls helpful for EoL discussion: however, I would be willing to visit Walsgrave for a conversation, if you really dislike discussion by e-mail),


Mike Stone

Emma Houghton 14/05/19

Within care homes and of course people's own homes, visiting times are any time, day or night...I wonder why hospitals are so different? - perhaps this is something for their co-production committees to decide and agree what people actually want and make some changes to bring them to standards that are more person-centred?

Kind regards

Rosalie Smith 14/05/19

Hi Mike,

I totally agree with you, visits to someone dying should be allowed any time, how on earth can you put times on this?
Maybe we should be emailing about this to hospital.

Neil Purcell 14/05/19

This is a generalisation official visiting hours never had a problem visiting clients or friends if you explain situation with ward sister it's all about communication in end of life care .

Carol Wilkinson 15/05/19

Hello once again.

On the ward that I work on, we have an 'open visiting ' agreement for patients at EOL We try to accommodate individuals requirements. We have a fold up bed that can be used in siderooms or use of our relatives room. Hot drinks provided as necessary. We do have visiting times for other patients - 2 til 4. and 6 till 8. I work on a respiratory ward and often, trying to communicate with

visitors wears them out and makes them more breathless.

I trained as a person centred counsellor so am well aware of those values but at the same time, I also need to be sympathetic to my patient group. We have tried open visiting many times but there were always issues raised. If visitors arrived in the night, not only did they wake their own relative, but often five other people trying to sleep. Going on and off the ward for cigarettes, disturbs everyone. It then becomes quite distressing for patients who maybe confused or disorientated.

Often, ladies get upset when carrying out personal care, toileting etc if visitors are around when this is taking place. We need to be aware of dignity and privacy. If I put myself in that position, using a commode at the bedside would be horrendous for me but if that were to happen with a bay full of visitors, it would be my worst nightmare.

I wonder if we could ever find a happy medium for this topic.

kevin SLATER 15/05/19

i have worked in end of life care settings and have had personal experience of visiting loved ones and friends who are at the end of life stage, both in nursing and non nursing environments, i can personally state that i have never or have never witnessed anyone being refused access, open visiting for all patients would be detrimental to the provision of best patient care. I have always been welcomed when visiting family, friends and clients at such a time, as Niel has stated its all about involvement,good communication and your own personal attitude.

Carol Wilkinson 15/05/19

Yes Kevin

I totally agree