UTAH, May 24, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Intermountain Healthcare’s hospitals in Utah are easing some visitor guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We recognize the comfort that visitors can bring to their loved ones during the healing and treatment process,” said Shannon Phillips, MD, chief patient experience officer at Intermountain Healthcare, by way of a press release. “We carefully balance that with the need to keep our patients, their loved ones, and caregivers safe and healthy during the current public health concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We all have an important public health responsibility to adhere to the recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and state and local health departments to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19,” said Mark Briesacher, MD, chief physician executive for Intermountain. “Following hospital and clinic visitor guidelines are an essential part of that effort.”
All visitors will continue to be screened with questions about symptoms and receive a temperature check before they’re allowed to enter a facility, the press release said. Visitors will also still be required to wear a mask or other protective equipment, practice frequent hand hygiene and maintain social distancing practices once inside. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own face covering or mask when possible.
The number and type of visitors allowed will still be limited to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities. Some care areas with highly vulnerable patient populations, such as intensive care units may still limit visitors to one designated visitor, or restrict all visitors, depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 and space considerations.
At hospitals and emergency rooms: Up to two designated visitors will be allowed for patients without suspected or active COVID-19. Visitors over the age of eight may be designated as a visitor, but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
For patients with suspected or active COVID-19: Visitors are only allowed for end-of-life patients, pediatric patients under 18 years old, adult patients who need an adult to keep them safe, and select obstetric patients. Specific personal protective equipment must be worn by any eligible visitors in this circumstance.
For patients at end of life without suspected or active COVID-19: Two visitors will be allowed at a time, with no more than four total visitors during a hospital stay. Visitors must be over the age of eight and wear a mask.
For patients at end of life with suspected or active COVID-19: Two total designated visitors will be allowed while in the hospital. These two visitors may not switch out with other individuals and must be over the age of 18. Specific protective equipment must be worn by visitors in this circumstance.
“Intermountain encourages hospital patients to communicate electronically or by phone with loved ones and friends,” the news release said. “Video chat, voice and texting are great alternatives and help patients and loved ones feel connected. If patients desire to visit others virtually and lack equipment such as a smartphone or tablet device, their patient care team can help with devices and technical support.”
Visitor guidelines at Intermountain Clinics and InstaCare locations:
Intermountain continues to recommend patients come alone unless they need assistance. Companions must be healthy and not have suspected or active COVID-19 and wear a mask.
Intermountain will continue to closely monitor the risk of COVID-19 in local communities and adapt guidelines as needed. Visitor guidelines could tighten if facilities become at risk for a surge in COVID-19 patients or are needed to assure the safety of caregivers and patients.