Looking after your loved one in hospital

If you are a relative or a family member of someone who is in hospital with COVID-19, you are classed as a COVID contact and must isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. You must not come into hospital to try and see your loved one and you must not attend work or any other activities outside of your household. This is extremely difficult but is the most you can do to keep yourself, your loved ones, and members of your local community safe and well. Failing to adhere to the above may result in you becoming unwell and being admitted to hospital yourself.

Staying in touch when you or a family member is in hospital

Our staff are extremely busy caring for patients but they know how important it is to keep in touch with you to let you know how your relative is doing. You will receive regular updates on a daily basis but the timing of these may vary depending on how busy the ward is. There is an option for you to video call your loved one, if you wish. Please speak to a member of nursing staff to arrange the best time for this. If your loved one is on a ventilator, they are unconscious and will not be able to communicate with you but a member of staff can still arrange for you to see them on screen. You can help us by assigning one family member to act as the single point of contact for the ward to receive updates and then share them with the rest of your family. This will reduce the need for delivering messages multiple times and will free our staff up to care for your loved one. On occasion, it may not be possible to contact relatives because of how busy the ward is. We will always try to make sure this is not the case, but you are always welcome to contact the ward if you have not received an update.

Eating and drinking in hospital

If your loved one is well enough to eat and drink, they will be offered refreshments and meals at regular intervals. If they are too breathless to eat, we will feed them artificially through a tube. Halal meals are available for all patients. If you would like to deliver specific food parcels, please speak to a member of staff.

Cultural and religious needs

If your loved one is well enough, they will be supported to access our facilities to support their cultural or religious wishes including our chaplaincy, prayer rooms and prayer books. Our wards have digital Quran cubes which are attached to a power supply and read the Quran out loud for Islamic patients. If you would like to request this to be playing in the background for your relative, please speak to a member of staff. We have two Cultural Support Volunteers who can visit patients from the Muslim community and others to help to connect people with their families remotely. They can also take items from reception to patients on the wards. They are available in evenings and weekends as well as during the day and can be contacted through Bolton Council of Mosques on 01204 363680 or email Rachel.hemingway@boltonft.nhs.uk

Sending letters to your loved one

You can send your loved one a letter or message by emailing LetterToYourLovedOne@boltonft.nhs.uk Please remember to include their full name and date of birth so we can make sure it reaches them by printing it out, popping it into an envelope and delivering it on your behalf. We can also read the contents out if this is more appropriate.

Delivering personal items

It is possible to deliver essential personal items such as clothing and toiletries to the hospital for your relative or friend. These should be delivered to the main reception at Royal Bolton Hospital between 9am-5pm. These will then be delivered to the wards by one of our team. It is also possible to collect personal property in the same way, such as laundry to take home. The ward staff will support your relative or friend to make these arrangements.

Getting help and support

Having a loved one in hospital, especially when you are unable to visit, is extremely difficult. There is support for you if you want to talk or need advice at this difficult time. Speaking to someone about how you are feeling can really make a difference. The Greater Manchester Mental Health Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is free to call 0800 953 0285.

Download – Looking after your loved one in hospital

Download – Looking after your loved one in Critical Care