The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be tightening the visitor safe management measures at all hospital wards1 and residential care homes (‘Homes’) for four weeks from 14 October 2022 to 10 November 2022 (both dates inclusive). This is to protect the healthcare capacity, as well as vulnerable patients and residents during this period when COVID-19 cases in the community are rising.
In-person Visits at Hospitals
2. All patients will be allowed only two pre-designated visitors for the duration of their admission, and only one visitor may be allowed at the bedside at any one time. Critically ill patients will be allowed up to five pre-designated patients, and two visitors may be allowed at the bedside at any one point in time.
3. The visit duration will be limited to 30 minutes. In exceptional situations, such as for critically ill patients, paediatric patients, birthing or post-partum mothers, and for patients requiring additional care support2, visitors may be allowed to stay beyond 30 minutes on a case-by-case basis at the hospitals’ discretion.
4. Visitors are reminded not to eat or drink in the hospital wards, or use the toilets designated for patients in the wards. They should avoid sitting on patients’ beds.
5. In addition, as our hospitals’ Emergency Departments (ED) are seeing a high number of patients daily, we encourage members of public to only go to the ED for emergency conditions. To prioritise ED resources for patients who need emergency medical care, ED patients with non-emergency conditions, including children, may be diverted to other urgent care clinics or primary care clinics for further assessment.
In-person Visits at Homes
6. All residents will be allowed up to four pre-designated visitors, and only one visitor may visit at any one time with the visit duration limited to 30 minutes. Visitors should continue to schedule the visits with the Home ahead of time. Visitors should strictly adhere to prevailing safe management measures within the Homes. This includes remaining within the designated visitor areas, outside of the wards.
7. We also seek the understanding of visitors that visits may have to be suspended if a Home is managing active COVID-19 cases. Next-of-kin of residents may approach the Home for further details.
8. Visitors to hospitals and Homes are to ensure that they are well and are strongly encouraged to test themselves with an antigen rapid test (ART) kit on the day of the visit to their loved ones. They must don face masks with good filtration capability at all times. These include surgical masks and reusable masks that are made of two layers of fabric. Hospitals and Homes have the discretion to impose stricter visitor limits or testing requirements for visitors of vulnerable or unvaccinated patients.
9. MOH will review and calibrate these measures regularly in line with the evolving COVID-19 situation. We seek the understanding and cooperation of patients, residents, and their family members and loved ones as we work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our healthcare institutions.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
12 OCTOBER 2022
1 Including public acute hospitals, community hospitals and private hospitals.
2 Patients who require additional care support, such as patients who have mental incapacities, or family members who are undergoing caregiver training to better care for their loved ones after hospital discharge