Our current visiting protocol for Darent Valley Hospital is:
All adult inpatients can have visitors from the day of admission
Maximum of 2 visitors at a bedside at a time
General adult ward visiting hours are: 11am to 1pm / 2pm to 4pm and 6pm to 8pm
Children are able to visit accompanied by an adult. Maximum one child and one adult at a bedside at a time
Face masks are now optional to wear in any areas of the hospital apart from when working in or visiting the following wards, where it is mandatory to wear a surgical mask at all times; Pine Therapy Unit, Holly Ward, Palm Ward, Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), Laurel Ward, Redwood Ward, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). This protocol is subject to change at short notice in response to the clinical situation on individual wards.
We encourage you to regularly clean your hands when moving around the hospital and physically distance where possible
Please do not visit if you have any Covid symptoms (or any other communicable disease - one that is spread from one person to another)
All adult inpatients can have a visit from the day of admission after their operation, once back to the ward
Maximum of 1 visitor at a bedside at a time
Two hours of visiting per day between the hours of 2pm-4pm and 6pm-8pm
Face masks are now optional to wear in any areas of the hospital apart from when working in or visiting the following wards, where it is mandatory to wear a surgical mask at all times; Pine Therapy Unit, Holly Ward, Palm Ward, Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), Laurel Ward, Redwood Ward, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU).
It is also mandatory to wear a mask if there is any suspected or confirmed respiratory infection.
We encourage you to regularly clean your hands when moving around the hospital and physically distance where possible.
Please do not visit if you have any Covid symptoms (or any other communicable disease - one that is spread from one person to another)
The greatest protection is vaccination, and we want to urge everyone to keep themselves and their families, friends, our staff and hospital safe by supporting the vaccination programme and get fully vaccinated with 2 doses and a booster. We have seen the value of vaccination and know that in the patients who have received the first and second doses of vaccine the admission rates to hospital are much lower, as is the number of patients who then go one to need intensive care. Find more information about the Vaccine, or where you can get one here:Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
We ask you please continue to support us, your adherence to our recommendations and guidance will really make all the difference. Please note that we are continually reviewing our visiting guidance alongside government advice and local and internal infection rate and visiting guidance may change at short notice.
Our volunteer Meet & Greet team will welcome you at the hospital front doors again, greeting and directing patients and visitors.
We ask that you please continue to clean hands upon entry and maintain physical distancing where possible within our main foyer, shops and facilities.
Face masks, visors and hand gel remain available in our entrance. Please ask a member of the Meet & Greet team if you need one.
We understand how important visiting is for our patients and their families and friends. While we can continue hospital visiting to help us keep our most vulnerable safe and allow extended family and friends to ‘visit,’ we recommend ‘virtual visiting’.
We are supporting telephone and video ‘virtual visiting’. Friends and family can speak to their loved ones via telephone or Zoom video. To use Zoom video call, you will need to have the Zoom app installed on your device.
How do I request a virtual visit for my loved one?
Email and telephone numbers of those wishing to participate in the call
The patient's name
The patient's date of birth
The ward that the patient in on
The preferred time and date to talk
What happens once I have made a request for a virtual visit?
Once a request is received, the team will discuss with the ward to ensure that the patient is fit and able to participate, and gain the patient’s consent. They will then contact the friends or family to determine when the conversation can take place. We aim to contact you within 24 hours of your request, although this may take longer during periods of high demand for the service or out of office working hours. Please note the request service is not manned during the weekends or bank holidays. If you require an urgent virtual visit out of working hours, please contact the ward nurse in charge directly.
Once a time and date has been agreed, a team member will call the family or friends approximately 10 minutes before the meeting to ensure everyone is at home and knows when to expect.
Once the team open the meeting, the person at home will receive a message that the meeting is open. They then enter the meeting ID and Password (which will have been provided previously) at which time their image will appear on the screen at the hospital end and those at home should be able to see both the patient and all others in the Zoom meeting. Friends and family will then be able to have a multi-person chat with the patient and everyone else logged on.
A member of the team will be with the patient throughout the process to assist where necessary.
Visiting for vulnerable patients and their carers, will be more flexible and assessed on a case-by-case basis, such as patients with a learning disability, mental health disability, additional needs or where a visitor or carer not being present would cause the patient to be distressed. The same approach will be taken for patients that may require assistance with activities of daily living or communication due to language barriers.
We politely ask that only those requiring assistance with communication, and mobility, those with a named carer, children, vulnerable patients, and those that wish to be supported by a loved one bring one accompanying person.
Children attending Outpatient appointments and The Children's Resource Centre are to be accompanied by only 1 parent/guardian, where possible due to limited space.
We advise that you bring some activities for your child to pass the time in the waiting area. Its important children remain seated and supervised at all times by their accompanying parent/guardian to maintain safety and social distancing. We ask that children and babies are not placed on the floor to play due to the risk of infection.
The Maternity Department has limitations in place. Read these HERE.
Patients attending our Emergency Department can be accompanied by a maximum of one person/carer if they choose to
Regretfully, we are unable to accommodate the accompanying person in our Urgent Treatment Centre due to space limitations in the waiting area and the nature of the department.
We ask that you continue to wear a face mask, unless exempt, where we ask that you wear a visor (which is available on request)
Please do not request access to the hospital if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, unless for emergency treatment.
Children who are acutely unwell, in Resus, or have complex medical needs will be able to be accompanied by both parents/guardians, once admitted into a cubicle or Resus room.
Where the parent/guardian requires emotional support or support with difficult decisions about the care of the child, both parents can be present whilst in the cubicle.
If the child is admitted to hospital, we are pleased to be able to facilitate both parents/guardians being present throughout the daytime and for your child’s Drs round. We ask that only 1 parent/guardian stays overnight.
Due to space limitations within our waiting areas, we are only able to facilitate 1 parent/guardian accompanying the child. Parents/guardians can swap over whilst in the waiting areas to provide respite.
We do rotate our cubicles and treatment areas, and in circumstances where the child is well but awaiting results, we may ask you to return to the waiting area from your cubicle. If both parents/guardians are present, only 1 person can remain with the child in the waiting area.
Below is some general practical advice and support for individuals visiting and accompanying patients at DGT:
Personal belongings - Bring as few personal belongings as possible with you, e.g. bags, handbags, electronic devices, gifts and only non-perishable food for the patient. Take the opportunity to take any valuables your loved one may have home for safe keeping.
Face coverings – Face masks are now optional to wear in any areas of the hospital apart from when working in or visiting the following wards, where it is mandatory to wear a surgical mask at all times; Pine Therapy Unit, Holly Ward, Palm Ward, Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU), Laurel Ward, Redwood Ward, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). It is also mandatory to wear a mask if there is any suspected or confirmed respiratory infection.
Gloves - Please do not wear plastic/surgical gloves, if you are wearing gloves you will be asked to remove them. Gloves can easily cross contaminate and hand hygiene is a much more effective method. There are hand gel stations available throughout your journey through the hospital, and at entry and exit points of wards and departments.
Social distancing – Where possible maintain a 1 metre/3 foot space physical distance.
Arriving at the ward or department – sanitise with hand gel or wash your hands with soap and water on entering, staff will support you with any other instructions and guide you to your loved one. We recommend you use the hand gels provided, but if you have your own please ensure it is effective against bacteria AND viruses.
Stay with your loved one - Another patient may ask you for help, it may be something simple such as passing something. If you or another patient needs assistance please call for help, or where appropriate ask your loved one, or another patient to press their call bell.
Leaving the hospital - Wash or sanitise your hands on leaving the ward/department and hospital. Only remove your mask once you have left the hospital building. Sanitise your hands following removal of your face mask, and dispose of your face mask appropriately in the bins provided at hospital exit points.
Vulnerable individuals – If you are extremely clinically vulnerable due to a medical condition or you live with someone who is extremely clinically vulnerable due to a medical condition, please be aware that by visiting a clinical environment such as a hospital, you are at greater risk of coming into contact with or developing Covid-19.
The hospital opened in September 2000, has approximately 463 inpatient beds, serves a growing population of around 500,000 and specialties that include day-care surgery, general surgery, trauma, orthopaedics, cardiology, maternity and general medicine. The hospital provide patients with the latest technology for their treatment in safe, comfortable and clean surroundings.
Car parking spaces at Darent Valley Hospital are limited. To avoid waiting for a space to become available, we recommend that you consider visiting the hospital via public transport or taxi whenever possible. Drop off areas are available at the front of the hospital if someone is able to bring you in.
Darent Valley Hospital is located close to Bluewater shopping centre, the Fastrack bus service to Dartford and Gravesend, and 10 minutes from Ebbsfleet International.
The buses that stop in the hospital grounds are as follows:
Route 96 runs between Woolwich and Bluewater shopping centre via Plumstead, Welling, Bexleyheath, Crayford and Dartford. Between Dartford, East Hill and Bluewater, buses will run via Park Road, Princes Road, the Fastrack system, Darent Valley Hospital (serving the bus stops near the hospital entrance) and then back on to the Fastrack system.
Fastrack ‘B’, running from Temple Hill to Gravesend - for more details (including bus times) please see Fastrack.
422 from East Hill to Gravesend. For times visit 422 bus route (Thursdays only)
423, running from Swanley to New Ash Green, via Dartford; For information and bus times visit 423.
428, running from Erith to Bluewater, via Dartford; For times visit 428.
429, running from Swanley to Bluewater, via Joyden's Wood, Keyton Cross, Wilmington and Dartford (NB The 429 only stops at the hospital on Sundays. This service is operated by Go-Coach - see www.go-coach.co.uk)
433, running from New Ash Green to Bluewater;
477, running from Orpington to Bluewater via Swanley and Dartford; For information and bus times, visit 477.
228, running from Tonbridge Station to Bluewater via Shipbourne, Ightham, Borough Green, Wrotham, West Kingsdown, Farningham, Sutton at Hone, and Darenth (N.B. The 228 only operates on Tuesdays in school term time. This service is operated by Red Route Buses Ltd – see www.redroutebuses.co.uk).
Cycle racks are available outside the main hospital entrance and the front of the Philip Farrant Education Centre.
The restaurant is located on Level 1, open 7 days a week, at the following times:
Monday - Friday: 07.15 – 19.15 (supper served from 16.30 – 18.00)
Saturday - Sunday: 08.00 – 17.00 (light snacks available from 15.00 – 16.30)
There is a call order menu available all day.
In the hospital main entrance there are the following commercial premises:
WH Smiths, newsagent
8am to 8pm Mon-Fri
9am to 7.30pm Saturday
9am to 7.00pm Sunday
9am to 5.30pm Mon-Fri
10am to 3pm Saturday
Ellenor Lions Hospice Special Treats Shop
9.15am to 8.15pm Mon-Fri
1pm to 8.15pm Sat-Sun
M&S Simply Food
7am - 9pm Weekdays
8am - 8pm Weekends
Costa Coffee - coffee and sandwich bar
6.30am to 7pm Mon – Fri
8.30am to 5pm Sat-Sun
(please note these may be subject to change)
Also available are: public wheelchairs (£1 returnable deposit), a public telephone, a Royal Mail postbox, a cash machine and an Hospedia TV/phone card vending machine.
Parking spaces at the hospital are limited. To avoid waiting for a space to become available, we recommend that you consider visiting the hospital via public transport or taxi whenever possible.
Fees - 0-1 hour = £1.50, 1-2 hours = £2.50, 2-3 hours = £3, 3-4 hours = £4 4-6 hours = £8, 6-24 hours = £10, weekly £32. Collect ticket at entry barrier and keep with you. Before leaving take ticket to payment machine located near the main entrance.
Minimum tariff applies for blue badge holders.
From the M25 northbound you must exit at junction 2 (Darenth Interchange) and follow the signs to Dartford, take the A225 (Princes Road) towards Gravesend (Bluewater/Bean). There is no exit from the M25 at junction 1b unless travelling southbound. Go straight over the roundabout onto B2200 (Watling Street) signposted Bluewater/Bean. At the next roundabout take the third exit onto Darenth Wood Road. On site car parking and disabled parking is available. You can plan the best route for you using the AA route planner.
The nearest train station is Dartford. All the buses services listed stop at either the station or Holmes Garden - just a short walk from the station. Taxis are available from Dartford Train Station and for return jouneys payphones in the hospital foyer have a button that links free to a local taxi firm. Greenhithe station is nearby and a Fastrack bus service is available. For further rail information contact National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 or visit their website at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk.
Darent Valley Hospital is a SMOKE / VAPE FREE site. Smoking and vaping is not permitted anywhere on the hospital grounds.
If a patient wishes to leave a clinical area to smoke
If a patient wishes to smoke but needs to be accompanied, they will be advised that staff are unable to accompany them offsite to smoke.
For free support and advice on how to quit smoking call: 0300 123 1220; Text QUIT to 87023 or visit www.oneyoukent.org.uk.