VISITOR/CAREGIVER POLICY WMC:
To support patient visitation rights while also managing Caregiver and Visitor access and movement within the facility in order to prevent and/or limit the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
A Caregiver is a person whose role includes the facilitation of the care and wellbeing of the patient. A Caregiver may include:
a spouse (especially with respect to maternity cases);
a parent or caretaker of a minor child;
a caretaker for an elderly person or a person with a disability;
a member of the clergy; or
another person who facilitates appropriate care for the patient.
These examples are not meant to be exhaustive. WMC staff should focus on the person’s ability to facilitate appropriate care for the patient.
A Visitor is an individual permitted by the Hospital to visit the patient, and who is not a Caregiver.
1. The following restrictions apply to patient visitation:
Caregivers or Visitors who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days, or who otherwise display cold, cough, and/or flu-like symptoms, should not visit hospitalized patients or accompany patient to visits. This measure helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the Hospital.
Children under the age of 14 will not be permitted to visit hospitalized patients unless accompanied and supervised by an adult. This measure is necessary to ensure that all Caregivers and Visitors are capable of adhering to Hospital visitation rules and guidelines.
Subject to other infection control limitations in Section 3, a Caregiver may be present with a patient at any time. A Visitor is limited to visiting a patient between the hours of 8:00am to 8:00pm each day. In the event additional support is needed for the patient, only one (1) single caregiver/visitor will be allowed to remain after 8:00 pm.
Limiting visitation to these time periods will allow visitation without overburdening Hospital staff and resources.
Patient will be limited to two Caregivers/Visitors at a time. This measure will help Hospital staff to monitor Caregivers and Visitors while they visit patients in the Hospital.
Exceptions to number of visitors, visiting hours, or age limitations may be granted in compassionate care situations, such as end-of-life scenario, support for patients with disabilities (including cognitive or developmental disabilities) and other considerations on a case-by-case basis. When an exception is made, the Visitor should be instructed to check in with nursing station/staff before visiting a patient room or entering a patient care area.
Visitation will not be limited or restricted on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.
2. Staff should work to identify Caregivers, Visitors and patients at risk for having COVID-19 infection upon arrival. All Caregivers and Visitors should complete a COVID-19 screening prior to entering the Hospital, including temperature check and a COVID-19 questionnaire about symptoms and potential exposures.
3. Significant visitation restrictions enacted by the hospital should be a rare event. In the event this is deemed necessary due to extraordinary circumstances, the following guidelines should be observed:
Each day, an essential caregiver should be granted a minimum of two (2) hours of inpatient visitation in all of the following circumstances unless the patient objects in accordance with Alabama State Law:
End of life situation.
The patient who was living with family prior to admission is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
The patient is making one or more major medical decisions.
The patient is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
The patient needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
The patient who used to talk or interact with others is seldom speaking.
The patient is a pediatric patient.
The essential caregiver is entitled to the above in addition to any other visitation authorized by the hospital.
The hospital should allow a patient to have visitation with a member of the clergy in the same manner as visitation to an essential caregiver.
WMC may, in its discretion, apply the foregoing factors in a more or less restrictive manner in order to allow access and visitation for Caregivers who will facilitate appropriate care for the patient. However, visitation may be restricted if WMC determines that it would jeopardize the Hospital’s available resources to provide patient care and prevent infection for other patients and staff of the Hospital.
4. The Hospital may limit or restrict visitation by Caregivers and Visitors in certain areas of the Hospital if the Hospital determines that there is insufficient space to maintain adequate social distancing or that adherence to respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions (e.g., mask wearing, handwashing, etc.) cannot be ensured.
5. The Following procedures and limitations apply during permissible patient visitation by a Caregiver or Visitor:
All Caregivers and Visitors should wear a mask while at WMC.
Caregivers and Visitors may not be present during aerosol-generating procedures.
WMC Staff will instruct Caregivers and Visitors to limit their movement within the facility. Caregivers and Visitors will be instructed to use designated entry and exit points.
Caregivers and Visitors who may have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are advised to quarantine and report any signs and symptoms of acute respiratory illness to their health care provider for a period of at least 14 days after the last known exposure to the sick person, or such other period of time as is recommended pursuant to CDC and other public health agency guidance.
All Caregivers and Visitors should follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions, including hand hygiene, while in the Hospital.
All Caregivers and Visitors should practice social distancing (maintain 6 ft. of separation) at all times.
Exceptions to this visitor policy are listed below and are based on patient care needs or space limitations:
Emergency Departments – 1 caregiver per patient due to space limitations with the exception of pediatric patients who are allowed two (2) parents/guardians.
Psychiatric Unit – Visitors by appointment only, according to the therapeutic plan
COVID-Positive or Person Under Investigation (PUI)
During their first visit, caregivers will receive education on personal protective equipment (PPE) and guidance to help ensure a safe patient visit. The caregiver must wear PPE supplied by the facility and follow current facility guidelines.
Only one caregiver is allowed per block of time.
Caregivers cannot be present during aerosol-generating procedures.
Caregivers are encouraged to stay in the patient’s room.
Swing Bed/ Rehabilitation
Two visitors are permitted anytime until 8:00 pm. Visitors must stay in the patient’s room unless they are scheduled to participate in caregiver training.
After 8:00 pm, one adult, 18 years or older, may stay with the patient.