Visits from family and friends can play an important role in the healing process.
COVID-19 Policy Change: CVPH Visitor/ Welcoming Policy
Effective Date: 11/16/20
Within the UVM Health Network, we recognize that family members and loved ones are valued members of the healthcare team and play a key role in supporting the wellbeing of our patients. As we seek to limit further the spread of COVID-19 during this new surge, our network is implementing temporary changes to our welcoming policy to protect the health and well-being of our patients and families, our staff, and our community.
Patient and Family Communication:
We will make every attempt to accommodate, for the patients and their families, the ability to talk or visualize, via the use of electronic devices, (patient or hospital owned) as necessary, so patients/families stay connected to their loved one’s during this time of social distancing.
No visitors are permitted at this time until further notice, with limited exceptions.
- In the case of these limited exceptions, everyone allowed to enter Network healthcare facilities:
- Must follow current New York State Guidelines for quarantine. Those who have been in close contact with a person sick with COVID-19 must not visit our facilities.
- Will be screened for a fever and COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry. Those with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 will not be allowed to visit.
- Is required to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth for the entire time they are in the building. Those not able or willing to wear a mask for the duration of their time in the building will not be permitted entry or allowed to remain within our facilities. Commercial masks with outflow vents, gaiters, and bandanas are not permitted. A mask will be provided if you do not have an acceptable face covering. Anyone seeking emergent medical care must be allowed to do so.
- Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/support animals, or service animals in training are not allowed at this time.
- In some circumstances, one “essential support person” may be permitted entry as a visitor, as in the case of a patient with communication needs (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), cognitive impairment, or a disability requiring assistance to access care.
Inpatient/Acute Care and Emergency Department:
No visitors are permitted at this time until further notice, with some limited exceptions:
- Patients in End-of-Life Care: Visitation for patients, for whom death in the hospital is imminent, to include COVID+/PUI patients, will be managed by their care team. In general, one designated support person will be welcomed when a patient is nearing their end of life. No more than two family members at one time may be permitted in the patient room at the end of life.
- Designated support persons must stay in the patient’s room when possible. Exiting and re-entering is highly discouraged.
- Support person designation cannot be transferred to anyone else.
- Clergy: All denominations are supported by our Chaplain program. Chaplains can arrange for a virtual visit with the patient’s own clergy upon request
- End-of-Life Planning: Family members involved in end-of-life planning are to pre-schedule a meeting with the Palliative Care Team or Provider/Unit Leadership. If this meeting is in-person, the two designated individuals may must log in with a screener as a visitor then leave at the conclusion of the meeting. It is strongly encouraged to have meetings via telephone or video-conference when possible.
- Hospice Care: Hospice nurses and social workers are allowed to enter daily to visit their patients. All Hospice Care team members must log in with a screener as a visitor.
- Labor and Delivery: One designated support person is allowed on birthing units, extending through the post-partum stay on the mother-baby unit. This person is to remain with the patient on the unit and may stay the night. The designated support person must wear their mask whenever they leave the patient’s room or when hospital staff enter the patient’s room. Certified doulas are permitted as an additional support person. If an infant is required to stay after the mother is discharged, visitation should follow the pediatric guideline.
- Pediatrics: Parents are not considered ‘visitors’ but are rather considered essential support persons. Two parents/guardians: only one is permitted at a time, and either one may accompany pediatric patients for their entire stay.
- Inpatient Psychiatry: No visitors until further notice.
- Emergency Department:
- One designated parent/guardian for pediatric patients. The designated parent/guardian remains the same throughout the stay.
- Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary).
- Two designated support people for patients in end of life care.
- All visitors/support persons must sign in through the CVPH north entrance near the Emergency Department in the visitor log.
Process for Exceptions to Inpatient/Acute Care and Emergency Department Policies:
- Any additional exception to this policy can only be made by the physician and nurse leader/PCC of the unit impacted. If the care team cannot reach consensus with regard to limited exceptions, the AOC on evenings, nights and weekends, will be the final decision maker in all cases.
- For patients meeting an exception to the restriction on visitation, their identified support person(s) should be documented in the patient’s record. Units should identify patients who have a support person permitted (based upon one of the listed exceptions) and provide that information to the information desk at the start of each day.
- Support persons who meet these exceptions will be screened upon entrance to the building before being allowed to visit. Those with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 or have an identified risk based on screening questions will not be allowed to enter and can connect with the unit by phone to identify an alternate support person.
- All support persons allowed to visit are required to remain in the patient room during the duration of their visit. Family members/support persons are permitted to leave and re-enter the building but must be rescreened upon each entry. Family members are strongly encouraged to limit repeated entry and return.
Family/friends are not permitted to accompany adult patients to outpatient visits:
Exceptions: There are limited exceptions for patients who require support and assistance to access their appointment as outlined below:
- Pediatrics: One parent or support person should accompany pediatric patients. The designated parent/guardian remains the same throughout the visit.
- Limited Access to Care: One support person is permitted in rare circumstances for a patient who requires assistance to access care (such as for a patient with a mobility or communication needs, for persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English, or have a disability or cognitive impairment). This applies to both outpatient clinic appointments, phlebotomy, and/or diagnostic imaging.
- Specific clinical situations: One support person may be permitted to accompany a patient in anticipation of the following limited circumstances:
- New diagnosis of a terminal illness
- Patient’s lack of response to treatment, which shifts the conversation towards end-of-life planning
- Change in the course of treatment that could have significantly negative outcomes, including end-of-life
These situations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in individual clinics.
- Surgical Services: One visitor/support person is permitted to escort an individual who is arriving for any procedure into the building to the screening checkpoint.
- For those patients being admitted to the hospital following a procedure, the support person can remain with the patient until they are called back to pre-op or the procedural holding area and then should exit the hospital. Updates will be provided via phone.
- For ambulatory procedures, the support person can remain with the patient until they are called back to pre-op. They must then exit the facility. They will be contacted via telephone in order to receive discharge instructions. Curbside discharge instructions may also be possible.
- Fetal Ultrasound: Obstetrics patients are permitted to bring one support person to their 20-week ultrasound appointment. There may be specific situations with patients needing an ultrasound that provider may make an exception on a case-by-case basis.
- Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services: One support person over the age of 18 is permitted to accompany patient to visits if the patient requires support or assistance to access their appointment. One parent/guardian may accompany pediatric patients.
- Patients who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as having a family member ‘present’ to listen, participate in the discussion, etc.) are encouraged to include support persons via telephone or video-conferencing technology.
- Visitors to our pharmacy will need to utilize curbside service. Please follow instruction on signage. Staff may continue to use the pharmacy.
- All visitors will be asked to clean their hands upon entry and exit from any unit, patient room, or clinic and upon entry and exit from the building.
- Security will be called to respond to any family members/visitors who present significant safety concerns, including unwillingness to mask or comply with social distancing requirements, or refusing to leave when asked on the basis of these concerns.
- Visitation rules apply equally to employees who wish to visit friends or family regardless of whether they are on or off duty.
- Vendors and partners in financial and professional service firms shall be restricted while the situation unfolds. If access is deemed medically essential (i.e. service or repair) access must be restricted to only those required to address an essential service or repair.
- Gift Shop and Cafeteria: No outside customers, only staff on duty. Designated support persons will not be allowed in these areas.
- Credit Union Customers: Customers to the credit union must pass the screening checkpoint to enter the building. Customers will go directly to credit union only and leave immediately afterwards.
- Any CVPH employee may enter the facility with her/his ID badge in hand on off-hours to conduct work-related business such as getting medications at the Outpatient Pharmacy, using the credit union, conducting necessary business at Human Resources or other similar activities. This is limited only to the employee and does not extend to friends or family. It also does not extend to visiting a friend or family member receiving care at CVPH.
- This policy will be modified on a case-by-case basis for unique and/or extenuating circumstances.