Hospitals in Worthing and Chichester have announced they are introducing longer visiting hours to allow family and friends to enjoy more time with patients.
Visiting hours at adult inpatient wards at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester will be extended from 3.5 hours a day to 12 hours, seven days a week.
From Friday, December 1, the wards will be open from 10am to 10pm.
Nicola Ranger, chief nurse, said: “We’re delighted to extend ward visiting hours to provide more opportunities for friends and family to come into our hospitals and spend time with their loved ones.
“Social interaction and keeping in touch with life outside of hospital is really beneficial for patients and not only helps the time pass but importantly keeps their minds healthy and engaged as well.
“Longer visiting hours will also help family members to speak in person more with consultants, therapists and other members of their relative’s care or discharge planning team.”
The decision by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to extend visiting times follows pilots on six wards where open access was trialled for three months, enabling visitors to come and go at any time of day or night.
Feedback and consultation with patients, visitors and staff informed the new arrangement to open wards each day from 10am to 10pm.
Western Sussex Hospitals, which is one of only five acute trusts in the country to have received an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission, has a long-term approach to continuous improvement.
Each day, colleagues gather for improvement huddles where ideas to improve patient experience are raised, discussed and implemented.
This approach creates an empowering environment where the status quo is challenged and new ideas can flourish.
Recent innovations include the introduction throughout the hospitals of free guest WiFi internet access and the trial of new colourful and clearer signage to improve wayfinding for visitors.
For more information about this approach, visit www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk/PatientFirst.