South Central Region Medical Center has made revisions to its hospital visitation policy and the changes went into effect at 6 a.m. Monday, said Chief Nursing Officer Beth Endom. Patient visitation in the hospital will continue to be limited to those 18 or older 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m., with the exception of the Intensive Care Unit, which will have its final visitation at 6 p.m.

As a result of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, hospitals across the country placed their hospitals on lockdown in early to mid-March due to COVID-19, so no visitors were allowed. 

Keeping families away from their loved ones who have been hospitalized has been among the most difficult experience of their professional careers, physicians and hospital staff said.

“We know it has been a very difficult time for our patients, their family members and friends over the last few months,” Endom said. “Our hearts go out to them. It has also been a difficult time for our clinical team who has served as caregivers, counselors and family when our patient’s family members could not be there by their side.” 

Restrictions on hospital visitation have eased, and hospital officials are revising their visitation policies to allow limited access to patient visitors. 

“We look forward to having visitors back in the hospital,” Endom said. “We know how important it is to have a friend or family member close by when you are having a surgical procedure or are hospitalized. Our new policy outlines the number of visitors allowed by area.”

Sherry Brewer, Vice President of Clinical and Emergency Services, said, “Like hospitals, Emergency Departments have also been on lockdown to visitors since March, and we look forward to having visitors back in our facility beginning Monday.

“We sincerely appreciate the community support we have received throughout the last few weeks, and we will continue to do everything possible to provide each patient the level of service and care they have come to expect.”

New patient visitation policy

Age restrictions: Individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to visit patients at SCRMC at this time. Special consideration will be made for end-of-life circumstances.

Other requirements: All individuals entering the hospital will be required to wear a mask and check in at the screening station inside the main front entrance of the medical center.  Temperature checks will be taken prior to the visitor entering the facility.

First West, Second West, Obstetrics/Gynecology Unit, Pediatric Unit: All patients on First West, Second West, the Obstetrics/Gynecology/Pediatric Unit, will be allowed one visitor in the patient’s room at a time. One visitor swap will be allowed during patient visitation hours, which allows a maximum of two visitors a day. Hospital visitation hours are 6 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The screening desk located in the front lobby of the medical center will coordinate the visitations. One visitor may stay with the patient overnight in the patient room. All visitors must check in at the nursing station on the unit when entering the patient care unit. Visitors must also stop by the nursing station when leaving the patient’s room.

Labor and Delivery: One support person will be allowed with a patient in the Labor and Delivery Unit throughout delivery.

Intensive Care Unit: Visitation hours for the ICU will be 6 a.m., 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Visitation per time period will be limited to 20 minutes. One visitor will be allowed per visitation time period. This will allow a maximum for four ICU patient visitors a day, but only one can visit at a time. Visitors will be allowed to visit at the bedside of patients who are not on isolation. Family members of patients who are on isolation will view the patient through the glass exterior of the room and will be provided a complete update regarding the patient at the time of their visit. There will be no overnight visitors in the ICU waiting room.

Third West: Third West is designated as the hospital’s isolation unit. No patient visitation will be allowed on Third West except for end-of-life circumstances. Patients who require full-time assistance or care will be allowed to have one caretaker in the room with the patient at all times. This determination will be made during hospital admission.

Patients having procedures and diagnostic tests: Patients having surgical procedures and diagnostic tests (Radiology, Wound Care, Cath Lab, Colonoscopy, Laboratory Services, etc.) are allowed to have one person to join them when entering the hospital. The individual joining them must remain in the surgery/diagnostic waiting room throughout the patient stay. Cafeteria services will not be available to outpatient visitors.

Cafeteria/Food Services only for inpatient visitors: The South Central Cafeteria will be open only for those visiting patients who are hospitalized at South Central. Patient visitors may also call the hospital room service line from the patient room and order a meal by providing payment by debit card or credit card at the time of purchase. They may also pay cash for the meal when the food tray is delivered. The meal will be delivered directly to the patient’s room. This service is not provided to those who visit patients in the hospital ICU.

The cafeteria hours for inpatient visitors will be Monday through Friday during the following times: 6:30-10 a.m.; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; 4:30-7 p.m. Weekend hours will be 6:30-10 a.m.; and 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Packages dropped off at the front entrance: Previously, due to patient visitation not being allowed, family members and friends were required to drop off patient belongings/items/packages at the screening station in the front lobby of the hospital for delivery to patient rooms. Patient visitation is now allowed and this service will no longer be provided. Visitors will provide patient belongings/items/packages for patients during their hospital stay. Special consideration will be made for patients on isolation who cannot have visitors.

New Emergency Department visitation policy

All patients who are treated in the South Central Emergency Department will be allowed to have one person with them during their Emergency Department stay. No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed in the Emergency Department. Special consideration will be made for end-of-life circumstances. All individuals entering the South Central Emergency Department will be required to wear a mask and check in at the screening station located directly inside the front door of the Emergency Department, where their temperature will be taken.

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