Visiting times have been relaxed at the Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, meaning patients can welcome their guests for longer.
Since Monday visitors have been able to stay with patients in the hospital from 12.30pm through to 8pm.
The new schedule is being run across most wards and departments.
It’s an improvement on the previous visiting rota which varied on each ward making it difficult for guests to know when they could visit.
The old visiting schedule was also limited, often to only two hours at a time between 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm.
Tina White, deputy director of operations, said: “We believe that the benefits are huge.”
She said the new open visiting slot also makes seeing a loved one in hospital easier for those using public transport and cuts the volume of vehicles trying to park on the site at one time.
She said: “Our visitors who rely on local transport to get to the hospital are no longer confined to set times to visit, and therefore able to make better use of local transportation timetables. We also hope that the prospect of open visiting may ease parking difficulties on site.”
The changes could improve the relationship between staff and a patient’s family because they will have more time to meet visitors.
Spending more time with family and friends will also improve their involvement in the patient’s care.
Tina hopes staff communication will improve under the new charter and that could mean better access to the Pilgrim Hospital’s facilities.
The NHS Trust has a ‘Protected Mealtimes’ policy which remains in place under the new visiting times.
It ensures patients are able to eat meals without being interrupted and so staff can assist them. Research has shown patients who are not interrupted are happier, more relaxed and eat more, improving recovery.
Patients who need assistance at meal times can receive it from loved one but visitors should check with ward staff first.