Coronavirus (COVID-19): general information and guidelines

24 March 2020
Do you have questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19)? On this page you will find general information and guidelines.

Visitors

No visitors are allowed.

Exceptions

The following departments are allowed visitors:

Guidelines for visiting the maternity ward

The guidelines for partners of mothers during delivery and admission to the maternity ward have been modified. Read the current guidelines here.

  • A sick partner (a cough, fever, a cold, respiratory problems) of the mother is not allowed to be present during the delivery, and is not allowed to visit afterwards either.
  • A healthy partner of the mother can be present during the delivery. During the delivery, the partner will choose one of two visiting arrangements:
    • Stay in the room 24/7 during the entire hospital stay and limit your time walking the corridors of the maternity ward as much as possible.
    • If the partner prefers not to spend 24/7 in the room, he can visit once a day, without time limit. In this case, staying the night will not be possible. Visiting is only allowed in the room, not the corridors.
  • Single mums can appoint one healthy person as her 'partner'. For that person, the rules above apply.
  • Also when the baby passes away shortly after birth (or if the pregnancy is terminated) the same rules apply: one healthy partner can choose to stay in the room 24/7 or visit once a day without staying the night or without time limit.
  • If the patient has to undergo foetal surgery, the partner can visit once a day, without a time limit. Staying the night will not be possible in this instance. Visiting is only allowed in the room, not the corridors.
  • No other relatives are allowed to visit.

Collecting and picking up personal belongings

Pellenberg campus

On the Pellenberg campus we work with appointments:

  • Family and patient decide on a time.
  • The department will be called to receive or collect the personal belongings at that time.

Campus Gasthuisberg

On the Gasthuisberg campus there is a to-and-from desk where you can:

  • bring or collect a patient's personal belongings (e.g. clothes, laptop ...).
  • deliver mouth masks (read our call).

The desk is manned by nursing students from the UCLL.

  • At the staircase in the reception hall of the Gasthuisberg campus

  • Every day between 14 and 20 hrs, also in weekends

Patients infected with the coronavirus COVID-19 and admitted to intensive care are not allowed to receive anything. For these patients hospital linen will be provided. COVID-19 patients on non-intensive care wards can receive things, but via the reception desk in the reception hall, not the to-and-from desk.

  • Bring everything in a closed, clean bag. Make sure you know the ward number (of the Gasthuisberg campus) the patient is admitted to. All the patient's details will be written down and attached to the bag.
  • If valuable electronic equipment (e.g. laptop, smartphone) is brought in, mention this explicitly.
  • Everything dropped off at the to-and-from desk will be done so at your own risk.
  • Make arrangements with the patient about when you can pick up their personal items.
  • Report to the to-and-from desk (of the Gasthuisberg campus), and tell them from which patient on which ward or department you are collecting personal items. The student collects everything at the nurses' station on the ward or department and give you the items.

Don't bring perishable food, or food that needs to be kept in the refrigerator (e.g. fruit). Only so-called ‘dry foods’ are allowed. An exception will be made for patients with special
nutritional requirements (e.g. kosher and halal food).

You are both bringing and collecting? Try to combine the two. This will limit the times the students have to go back and forth.

Consultations and functional examinations

Only necessary appointments

All non-urgent appointments will be cancelled. Only necessary examinations and treatments will go ahead.

  • You will be personally contacted via sms if you're appointment is cancelled.
  • We will contact you at the later time for a new appointment.

If you did not receive anything, you can come to the hospital for your appointment.

Maximum of 1 escort

As a patient you can only bring one person to escort you to the appointment.

Do you have more than one appointment on one date?

The date of the appointment that is cancelled will be clearly communicated in the sms or on the phone. Do you have more than one appointment on the date in your sms? It is possible that one appointment will go ahead while the other won't

When you receive an sms from the hospital telling you your appointment has been cancelled on a certain date, you can answer the sms with the question which appointment we're referring to. Hospital staff will check and contact you again.

You can also find up-to-date information about your appointments in your online medical record mynexuzhealth. Appointments that have been cancelled will be deleted from the app as soon as the physician decides to postpone. You will only find the appointments that will go ahead.

Outpatient clinic oncology

In the outpatient clinic oncology A and B (chemotherapy) the escort can bring the patient up to the entrance of the outpatient clinic, but is not allowed to enter. The escort waits in the waiting area.

Surgical procedures and admissions

Only necessary treatments will go ahead.

  • We will contact you a couple of days in advance to inform whether your procedure will go ahead or not.
  • It is not necessary to call the hospital.
  • During the admission you can only be escorted by a maximum of one person (18 years or more).

Food and drink

Patients and visitors can no longer in eat in the visitor's cafeterias of the Gasthuisberg campus and the Pellenberg campus.

Also the take-outs on all campuses and the coffesshop on the Gasthuisberg campus are no longer accessible or visitors.

Patients and visitors can get a bite to eat and a drink at the vending machines on all campuses.

Prevent the spread: general precautions

  • Wash your hands regularly with water and soap / hand sanitiser.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a disposable tissue if you can, and throw it immediately in a closed bin.
  • Avoid close contact with others - keep sufficient distance (approximately 1.5 metres) .

Mouth masks

Patients at the consultation and functional tests

At the consultations and functional tests patients can wear a surgical mouth mask. You can pick up such a mask at the reception desk in the reception hall. When you have a cough, you always have to wear a mask. Only the patient is allowed a mask, the patient's escort isn't. It is very important that the escort is healthy and does not have any COVID-19 symptoms (coughing, sneezing, a fever ...). If an escort has symptoms that could point towards a respiratory infection, he is not allowed to enter the hospital.

Call for collecting mouth masks

Read our call for mouth masks.

Psycho-social support for COVID-19-wards

Together, UZ Leuven and UPC KU Leuven have set up a team for psycho-social and psychiatric support on the COVID-19 wards. The team is available for the COVID-19-patients themselves, their family and the teams that look after them and works closely together with the COVID-19 wards, the social department, the pastoral department and the palliative support team.

Psychological and psychiatric care for patients

Every COVID-department, including intensive care, will be appointed at least one part-time psychologist; in a first stage the psychologists will even work in duos, in order to buiild up expertise.

The psychologists, the physician-psychiatry specialist in training and the psychiatry supervisor will predominantly work with remote video consultations and will discuss mwith the physician and the nurse of the department, but will also do bedside consultations if this is necessary.

In addition the team supports and looks after the UPC KU Leuven patients that have tested positive for the COVID-virus and have been transferred to an UZ Leuven COVID-unit. A number of UPC nurses will help out with the care on one of the corona wards in the UPC KU Leuven building. That way there will always be a psychiatric nurse present during every shift, in addition to the regular nurses. They look after the UPC KU Leuven patients and all other patients on the COVID ward.

Do you need psychological or psychiatric support from the COVID-team? Ask your physician or nurse on the ward about it. They will contact the team.

Psychological and psychiatric support for employees

We also provide psychological support for UZ Leuven and UPC employees in cooperation with the previously established internal psycho-social support helpline.

For professionals

GPs

If you are confronted with a patient with a suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, please follow the guidelines issued by the government. You can read them here under the ‘Huisartsen’ section (in Dutch).

External firms

Monitoring visits for clinical trials by external companies have been postponed. Only urgent audit visits can exceptionally go ahead after formal approval. The visits can only take place in the trial study office. Visits by monitors or auditors for clinical trials in the hospital, including the pharmacy, will be postponed until further notice. For these external individuals the rule is still that if they have symptoms of flu or a cold, they cannot come to the hospital.

  • Planned patient visits can go ahead until further notice as per the protocol. Only if the patient has been put into quarantine, the trial visits will not be allowed to continue. This will be documented as a protocol deviation as a result of COVID-19. The patient can resume the trial after he has tested negative and after consultation with the attending physician.
  • Study medication can still be delivered to the pharmacy and delivered to the patients during the planned trial visits.
  • Follow-up visits by CRAs can be replaced by remote visits (via telephone /e-mail contact) after approval by the PI.
  • Source data verification cannot go ahead via remote visits. In addition, source documents cannot leave the UZ Leuven facilities.

Questions about the coronavirus?

If you have questions about the coronavirus as a patient, GP or employer, you can always call the government number 0800 146 89. The number is manned 24/7.

Coronavirus COVID-19 website of the Federal Government Service for Public Health

How as UZ Leuven prepared the coronavirus approach?

In the first instance, patients with flu symptoms should report to their GP and receive as much care as possible at home. In case patients need to come to the hospital, they should sign in at the emergency department and not at any other reception point. In the emergency department, they will be isolated from other patients while any necessary testing is ongoing.

Start of the pandemic

In the first phase of the pandemic, patients that tested positive were referred to the UMC Sint-Pieter Brussels or the UZ Antwerp (UZA) for further care. At first UZ Leuven did not currently admit patients with a confirmed coronavirus infection. Only when the capacity of the UMC Sint-Pieter or the UZA was exceeded, the government involved other hospitals, including UZ Leuven.

During that time, UZ Leuven was the reference lab for Belgium. This means that all samples from patients suspected of having the coronavirus, were sent to the UZ Leuven laboratory. After some time, more and more other hospitasl started taking and analysing samples. In the meantime, several labs all over Belgium test samples for suspected corona patients.

Pandemic action plan and viral infections

As soon as we were dealing with a pandemic, a detailed action plan for pandemic and viral infections took force. This plan includes clear guidelines that encapsulate all aspects of hospital operations. The plan consists of various phases that will be engaged as the pandemic develops further. One of the most important guidelines is separating patient streams with individuals that are infected, or with a suspicion of an infection, from patients that are not infected.

Task force

There is a daily meeting of a task force with various representatives of the medical, nursing and supporting departments, led by the medical director.

Additional isolation boxes

The garage of the emergency room has been expanded with additional isolation boxes for testing patients with a suspicion of a coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Expanding the capacity for receiving infected patients

UZ Leuven has freed up additional room for accommodating seriously ill coronapatients in consultation with the Universitair Psychiatrisch Centrum KU Leuven which is also housed on the Gasthuisberg campus.

A number of wards have freed up additional for a number of critically-ill corona patients. In addition, a move was made to the UPC KU Leuven building of adult and geriatric psychiatry This is directly accessible from the outside and can be compartimentalised in safe different areas and in different phases. In addition, it is close to the ER and the intensive care units.

In order to prepare everything as well as possible, all non-urgent procedured and admissions have been postponed. Other UZ Leuven patients can of course continue to count on our high-quality care, as always.

Medical director prof. dr. Gert Van Assche, UZ Leuven: “As a university hospital we are taking our responsibility. The installation of an emergency hospital will happen in a structured and safe way, with the necessary attention for our employees' and patients' welfare.”

More info

For more information and tips regarding the spread and prevention of the corona virus, you can also consult the following websites:

Last edit: 26 March 2020