Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information
30th October 2020

Staying safe in our care

Introduction

We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of all of our patients, visitors and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is important that you know what you should be doing to stay safe, what the Trust is doing to keep you safe, and how some of our services may have changed to support safety for everyone.

To ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, the Trust has made a number of changes to the general running of its sites and services.

Watch our ‘Here for you‘ video to see all the important measures we’ve put in place.


Keeping our patients, visitors and staff safe

To ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, the Trust has made a number of changes to the general running of its sites and services.

  • We have ensured our staff are well trained on how to limit the spread of infection in hospitals.
  • Patients who have tested positive will be treated and cared for in separate areas of the hospital.
  • We are carrying out regular cleaning of our wards, operating theatres and equipment.
  • We have completed staff testing for COVID-19 to protect our patients and staff.

To maintain social distancing only patients will be allowed in our outpatient departments.  Please speak to the nurse in charge at the time of arrival if this is not possible.

Please do not enter more than 15 minutes before your appointment (5 minutes for blood tests).


Visiting

Visiting is restricted on all general wards. Please contact the ward and speak to the nurse in charge.

Exceptions to this are maternity, children’s areas and neonatal, where visiting is restricted to parents and birth partners only.


Surgical face mask

When you come to hospital or visit our outpatient centres, you must wear a surgical face mask. By doing so, you are helping to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.

If, for any reason, you cannot wear a surgical face mask, such as if you suffer from breathing problems, a health condition, or you have a learning disability, autism or rely on lip reading, please notify a member of staff.


Social distancing

When attending our sites, it is important that you maintain social distancing. Make sure you stay two metres apart from anyone else.

There are markers in place on the floor of our restaurants to help to maintain social distancing while queuing for refreshments, and there is a one way system in place when walking through our sites. Please follow the floor signs along the corridors and keep to the left at all times.


Hand hygiene

It is important that you maintain good hand hygiene at all times. Please use the wall-mounted hand sanitisers provided upon entry and exit of any of the departments and wards, and ensure that you wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.


Are you symptomatic?

You may have coronavirus if you have any of the following symptoms, however mild:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Anyone who has these symptoms must stay at home until the symptoms have ended, and in all cases for at least seven days.

Do not go to a hospital, GP surgery or pharmacy.

Use NHS online services. Only call 111 if you are not able to get online, you have been instructed to call, or your symptoms worsen.

Call 999 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency, and tell the call adviser if you have coronavirus symptoms.

For information on symptoms in alternative languages, please click on the links below:


Is someone in your household symptomatic?                                                            

If someone in your household is experiencing any of the above symptoms, everyone else in the household must stay at home for at least 14 days after the first person’s symptoms appear, even if they themselves do not have symptoms.

Do not go to a hospital, GP surgery or pharmacy while you are in isolation, and use the other NHS services as outlined above.


For the latest national information and advice on COVID-19 go to

www.gov.uk/coronavirus  and  nhs.uk/coronavirus 

Here you will find information on everything from symptoms to shielding the vulnerable, self-isolating to coronavirus in children, health and wellbeing, employment issues, travel, school closures, testing, financial support, housing and support available. There is information available in easy read formats and foreign languages.


Statement issued on 20th April by Diane Wake, chief executive of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust is currently treating patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Sadly, patients being cared for at our hospital, and who had tested positive for COVID-19, have died. Up to date information for the Trust can be found here.

Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and friends of those patients at this very difficult and distressing time.


Statement issued on 17th April by Diane Wake, chief executive of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

We are overwhelmed by the support being shown us by our community and understand how people want to demonstrate this support for their hospital. This is a great source of strength for our staff, however our main concern is that people stay safe, and the best way to help us is to stay at home.

Our staff at all levels take a few minutes out of their week each Thursday to share the weekly #Clapforcarers campaign with their colleagues. This happens at shift handover time, when people are coming to work or leaving the site. It occurs at hospitals and trusts up and down the country.

We are acutely aware of the huge impact this virus is having on our whole country and individuals in our communities, and our condolences go to those who have lost loved ones during this really stressful time. The loss of any patient is very keenly felt by all those involved in their care.

We also have a duty to care for the mental health of our workforce and allow them a time to share in the feelings of goodwill being displayed across the country.


Joint statement issued on 20th March by Public Health Dudley, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group:

People in Dudley are being urged to do all they can to help stop the spread of coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases nationally and locally continues to rise.

There are now a number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Dudley, and a large proportion of patients have been discharged from hospital and are isolating at home. But given that the number of cases is expected to continue to rise in the coming days, it is even more important that communities follow the advice of health professionals and adhere to the measures announced by the Government in recent days to help minimise the spread of coronavirus further.

Deborah Harkins, Dudley Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “It is important that people should not be unduly worried by the increase in the number of coronavirus cases which are being confirmed nationally and locally – but it is equally important that we now all take steps to help prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

“In particular, this means following the social distancing measures announced by the Government earlier this week.

“If you are well, are under 70 or do not have an underlying health condition, you are advised to limit your social contact as much as possible, including using less public transport, working at home if you can and not going to pubs, restaurants, theatres and bars.

“If you are aged 70 and over, are younger but have an underlying health condition, or you are pregnant, you need to be particularly stringent in following the social distancing measures, and to also significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family as much as possible.

“Washing your hands with soap and water more often, for at least 20 seconds, is still the best way that you can protect yourself and others. Cover your mouth and nose with disposable tissues when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze into your elbow, not into your hand. Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards.

“Clearly, the next few weeks are going to be incredibly difficult for everyone as we reduce our social interaction to protect our families and other people – but it is vitally important that we all follow this guidance so that we can all do our bit to help prevent and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust is now routinely testing patients for coronavirus if they display symptoms of respiratory illness. As reflected in the national figures, a large proportion of patients tested are negative.

Public health laboratories are working hard to get test results out in a timely manner and prioritising those that are for the most unwell patients in hospital. At all times, regardless of whether the results are confirmed, the Trust is taking steps to cohort patients to ensure that they and others receive the care that they need in a safe environment.

Meanwhile, the Trust, council and Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group are writing to all vulnerable residents providing important guidance to those most at risk. The council has also developed a webpage with advice specifically for vulnerable patients living in Dudley about how to access support from Dudley service. For more information, please visit www.dudley.gov.uk/coronavirusolderpeople

There’s also lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus. For further information and guidance, please also visit www.dudleyccg.nhs.uk/coronavirus/


NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

 Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus;
  • in the last 14 days you’ve been to a country or area with a high risk of coronavirus;
  • you’ve been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

 Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.


Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.

Testing of suspected coronavirus cases is carried out in line with strict guidelines. This means that suspected cases are kept in isolation, away from public areas of GP surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals and returned home also in isolation. Any equipment that come into contact with suspected cases are thoroughly cleaned as appropriate. Specific guidance has also been shared with NHS staff to help safeguard them and others. Patients can be reassured that their safety is a top priority, and are encouraged to attend all appointments as usual.


Everyone is being reminded to follow Public Health England advice to:

  • Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.