"My mother was admitted to QE2 ..."

About: Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital (Welwyn Garden City)

(as a relative),

What I liked

My mother was admitted to QE2 3 weeks ago when she broke her femur. She went to Princes Wing after a few days and the care for her injured leg has been good. Doctors & most nurses are caring and forthcoming with information.

What could be improved

Enter comment here

She was due to be moved to another local hospital on Friday for physiotherapy & convalesence but unfortunately picked up a nasty sickness & diarrheoa bug last Wednesday. She was moved into a side ward, as was her neighbour opposite who had also contracted 'the bug'. Visitors were still allowed but asked to put on gloves & plastic aprons as protection, to which all Mum's visitors complied. It is with regret that I have to report that my two sisters & myself have all caught 'the bug' and feel very ill & obviously cannot now visit her. Mum is still suffering the indignity of it all.

Anything else?

Enter comment here

One must question whether visitors should still be allowed if this bug obviously spreads rapidly. Realtives of the other lady have also succumbed. Although visitors keep patients spirits up when they are poorly, surely it is worth considering limiting or even stopping visitors. How else is this 'bug' ever to be eradicated?

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Response from Queen Elizabeth I I Hospital

Thank you for your comments and while we were pleased to learn that your mother's injured leg is responding well to treatment, we were sorry to learn that she - and you it would seem - have contracted a Norovirus-like infection (known more commonly as the winter vomiting bug).

The group of viruses associated with this illness are very commonplace - and especially this year for some reason. When we have a suspected Norovirus outbreak on one of our wards, we have tried to balance the needs of our patients with the important issue of preventing spread of infection. In our experience, banning all visitors - as some hospitals have done - has only served to sow confusion and difficulty for staff and patients alike.

The course that we have followed instead is to instigate strict infection prevention procedures whilst at the same time allowing patients to receive sensible numbers of visitors. We know from feedback that for many of our patients, having visitors is a very important part of their stay with us. The risk, of course, is that the virus may spread further. But given that it is invariably a short-lived illness, albeit very unpleasant, and causes people no lasting harm, the balance that we have struck is not to restrict visitors completely as for many patients, this would be a step too far.

We hope that by the time that you have read this message, both you and your mother will have got over your respective illnesses and that your mother's transfer to a local community hospital for her on-going care will go ahead without a hitch.

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