Covid: Hospital visits ban soul-destroying, says patient
A woman in hospital for more than 10 weeks and unable to have visitors due to Covid rules said the loneliness has been “soul-destroying”.
Margaret Evans, 86, from Nefyn, Gwynedd, said she felt “torn away from the world” with a ban on visitors at Ysbyty Alltwen, Tremadog.
But another nearby community hospital has allowed visits in its garden.
Officials said visits had been allowed in exceptional cases and revised rules would allow more visits by appointment.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said it appreciated that visiting restrictions have been difficult for patients and their families, and that changes will be implemented across the board this week to allow visits by appointment.
Other hospitals in Wales already allow visits on an appointments basis, including those run by Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, Powys Teaching Health Board, and Swansea Bay University Health Board.
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“This will continue to be regularly reviewed, and may change at short notice,
based on the level of community transmission of Covid-19, and the number of
patients with the virus in our hospitals.”
Ms Evans said that the situation “isn’t fair”, especially because she has been in hospital for over two months without seeing any familiar faces.
She has been treated at Bangor’s Ysbyty Gwynedd before being transferred to Alltwen hospital and was unable to have visitors.
“I feel like I’ve been torn away from the world,” she said.
“It’s a step too far to close everything down,” she said.
Elaine Beer from Minffordd said her 83-year-old mother has been at Ysbyty Gwynedd for two weeks and has been struggling with the isolation, as she has also been unable to have visitors.
“Mum phones me in tears saying she’s lonely,” she said.
“It’s not fair – either everyone can go [to visit] or nobody at all.”
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Helena Jones’ mother, Mairwen, from Pontllyfni has been moved to Bryn Beryl Hospital, Pwllheli, where visits are allowed by appointment in the garden.
“I’ve seen a big difference in mum since we’ve been going there to see her every day,” she said.
“She is more herself despite being very unwell,” she said.
Debra Hickman, health board secondary care nurse director, thanked patients and their families for their “patience and understanding as we work to ease visiting restrictions in a safe and responsible way”.
She said changes will be implemented this week allowing visitors on an appointment only basis where possible.
“This will provide some relaxation to visiting which is currently only supported in exceptional circumstances,” she said.
“This will continue to be regularly reviewed, and may change at short notice, based on the level of community transmission of Covid-19, and the number of patients with the virus in our hospitals.”