Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) is appealing for visiting to wards at Leighton Hospital to be kept to an essential minimum as the number of patients with suspected cases of Norovirus increases.
The virus is currently present across the community and, due to its nature, is easily spread, leading to cases now being present at Leighton Hospital.
To help prevent the spread of the diarrhoea and vomiting virus, the Trust is applying temporary visiting restrictions
on Wards 4 and 14 where only essential visiting is permitted and only in the evening.
* UPDATE 7th January 2014 – TEMPORARY VISITING RESTRICTIONS EXTENDED *
Due to further increases in the number of patients being admitted with symptoms of Norovirus, Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT) is taking the precautionary decision to extend the temporary visiting restrictions to all adult wards at Leighton Hospital in Crewe.
For all other wards at Leighton Hospital, potential visitors are asked to consider if their visit can be postponed to help limit the virus’ spread.
Julie Smith, Director of Nursing and Quality, said:
“Whilst some of our wards are currently affected by a viral illness thought to be Norovirus, we are asking the public to not visit these areas at the moment in order to allow for the effective management of the infection.
We also request that relatives don’t visit any other areas of the hospital if they themselves have felt unwell with diarrhoea, nausea or vomiting (feeling or being sick) over the past 48 hours as our patients may be more vulnerable to picking up bugs.
The Trust has stringent hygiene measures in place and a rigorous cleaning schedule.
Visitors are asked to remember to wash their hands when coming onto or leaving a ward area, and to use the hand gels provided at the entrance and exit to all patient areas.
Rather than risk passing on infections by visiting in person, we would suggest phoning the ward to check on relatives. We are happy for patients to make and receive calls on their mobile telephones in day rooms, and staff can facilitate a bedside telephone call for those whose mobility is limited.
The comfort and care of our patients remains our top priority, and we are doing everything possible to limit the spread of Norovirus and other infections.”
Norovirus is the most common form of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs) in England and Wales and affects between 600,000 and one million people in the UK every year. The viruses are easily transmitted from person to person, which can often lead to outbreaks particularly in semi-closed environments such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and cruise ships.
Symptoms, which begin with sudden nausea followed by projectile vomiting and watery diarrhoea, start around 12 to 48 hours after infection and can last between 12 and 60 hours.
People can also suffer from a raised temperature, aching limbs and headaches.
There is no specific treatment other than drinking plenty of fluids. Particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly or very young, are prone to dehydration and should take extra care.
The most effective way to respond to an outbreak is to disinfect contaminated areas and isolate those infected for up to 48 hours after symptoms have ceased.
For further information please visit the Health Protection Agency website www.hpa.org.uk