As communities in our region are experiencing lower rates in COVID-19 cases, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Breese continues with visitor restrictions in the best interest of patients and colleagues.
The hospital considers many factors when it comes to visitor guidelines. “The local county positivity rate and which phase we are in is just part of it,” shared Dr. Vinay Bhooma, chief medical officer at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“We also consider the number of patients we see each day, and what that would look like if we increased our visitor allowance. For example, we are still screening all who come to the hospital for COVID symptoms and implementing social distancing, so we must ensure we have colleagues to check people in and the ample amount of space is available in areas where visitors may be throughout the hospital.”
Fluctuations in positivity rates are also taken into consideration, along with what potential celebrations and events may be coming up. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have also seen our positivity rates fluctuate quickly in our community,” explained Bhooma. “With less restrictions on dining and in-person sporting events, it gives opportunities for people to gather, which could cause more COVID-19 cases. So, we are being cautious with our visitor restrictions to ensure safety and lessen the risk to our patients and colleagues.”
The hospital’s administration prioritizes patient and colleague safety first in ongoing evaluation of visitor policies.
“We understand visitor restrictions can be challenging when your loved one is in the hospital,” said Zach Yoder, chief nursing officer at St. Joseph’s Hospital. “Our nurses and doctors are doing all that they can to focus on patient care and keep families informed when they cannot be here. We are encouraging family members and loved ones to provide nursing staff with their contact information,” added Yoder. “You may call the hospital’s main number to check on your loved one. Also, our inpatient unit has room numbers visible from outside if family members would like to do window visits. Additionally, virtual video visits with your loved one are also an option.”
Updates on visitor restrictions will be sent to local media and posted on the hospital’s website and Facebook page. The following restrictions have been in effect since Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and will continue until further notice.
There will be no visitors allowed to our inpatient units, except for:
- Women and Infants Center patients may have ONE support person during the entire stay – must be the same person.
- Pediatric emergency and inpatients under the age of 18 may have TWO parents or guardians present.
- All patients nearing end-of-life will have special arrangements made on a case-by-case basis.
- Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disability or cognitive impairments may have one support person.
Emergency department: No visitors. Exceptions will be made for pediatric patients and those with intellectual or developmental disabilities or cognitive impairments. If the patient becomes admitted, inpatient restrictions would apply. COVID-19 positives or persons under investigation (PUI) would not have visitors unless special circumstances are necessary.
For outpatient appointments and/or procedures, including pediatric patients, ONE approved adult support person may be with the patient for the duration of their procedure or clinical visit. If the patient becomes admitted, inpatient restrictions would apply.
Approved visitors must be over the age of 18 and will continue to be screened upon entering the facility for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure.