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Guidance on time out of hospital for inpatients during COVID-19 outbreak

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[Email dated 25.03.20 from Deputy Associate Medical Director for Mental Health]

The guidance below should now be followed:

  • Patients who are clinically appropriate for time out of the ward (e.g. to go for exercise in the hospital grounds) should be advised that they can do so in keeping with national guidance for the general public and for no more than one hour in total per day.
  • No overnight passes should be considered.
  • Given the current situation, any patient with unescorted  time out of the hospital should also be having their care needs reviewed to ensure that they cannot be managed at home instead. Additional support can be accessed via crisis teams for discharge and home treatment.
  • In the event that patients do not follow such guidance:
  • Informal patients should have the necessity of their stay in hospital reviewed and discharge strongly considered on the basis of non-compliance with staff guidance.
  • Patients who are detained in hospital should have their suspension of detention reviewed and revoked as necessary.
  • While the day to day ways of managing patient leave are likely to be site-specific, inpatient teams are encouraged to consider having a ‘locked front door’ approach. This would allow staff to monitor the traffic in and out of the ward, ensure that no patients are going outside beyond the national guidance and reduce the risk of any visitors attending the ward outwith agreement.


Editorial Information

Last reviewed: 25 March 2020

Next review: 25 September 2020