For many, taking a bunch of flowers to a sick loved one in hospital is the perfect way to say ‘get well soon’.
But now, University Hospital of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has implemented a no-flower rule in the interests of the safety of its patients, visitors and staff.
In a move in line with the majority of other acute Trusts nationally, hospitals across Morecambe Bay is now calling on the support of the public to not bring flowers into its hospitals.
Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, said it was a heavy-hearted decision but one the Trust strongly feels will help to prevent avoidable infections and reduce the risk of harm.
She said: “We hope that our patients and visitors will understand that this step will help us to keep patients, visitors and staff safe on the wards by reducing the risk of potential infection and preventing slips, trips and falls from accidentally-spilt water.
“We also have patients who are allergic to pollen so this eliminates any risk.
“We tried a compromise by removing flowers from the bedside and putting them on the windowsill but we faced the same challenges.
Sue added that she hoped members of the public would consider alternative gifts.
She added:“We are writing to as many of the local florists as we can to advise them of the change and to let them, in turn, let customers know that flowers can be sent to a patient’s house when they are back home.
“We hope members of the public will support us in this and consider alternative gifts.”
Infection Prevention Matron Angela Richards said flower water is a reservoir of bacteria, including pseudomonas, which has the potential for causing an infection to a patient, visitor or member of staff.
She added: “Cross contamination of the bacteria may occur through spills on to a surface, a patient or equipment.
“It can also be carried via hands washed in a sink where the flower water has been discarded.”
Previously, some areas such as the high dependency unit did not allow visitors to bring flowers in.
The rule also includes plants and artificial flowers.