An Important Update from Hunterdon Healthcare on Mask/Face Coverings for Patients, Visitors, and Staff
Updated August 13, 2020
Recently there have been several masks/face coverings that have been identified as being not effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. At this time, Hunterdon Healthcare will not be allowing visitors, patients, or staff to wear neck gaiters, bandanas, or masks with exhalation valves, including N95s or KN95s, while within any of our facilities. If a patient, visitor, or staff arrives at one of our facilities wearing any of these restricted masks/face coverings, they will be asked to remove the restricted mask/face covering and Hunterdon Healthcare will supply a procedural mask for the person to wear while in the facility.
Screening in Place and Visitation Guidelines at Hunterdon Medical Center
Updated on July 10, 2020
The safety and well-being of our patients, visitors, and staff is our number one priority. Please be aware of the following newly revised guidelines before visiting Hunterdon Medical Center.
Patients will be allowed one visitor OR support person at a time. (Certain exclusions apply – see below). In extenuating circumstances other exceptions may be made with input from the nursing unit, nursing supervisor, MD).
All visitors must be 18 years of age or older, except in rare exceptions as determined by the facility.
- ICU/CCU: One person per patient at a time is permitted for a maximum of one hour between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. Each visit must be scheduled with the patient’s care team by calling 908-788-6182 for ICU or 908-237-4030 for CCU. ICU visitors may only wait in the ICU waiting room in order to announce their arrival and wait for a staff member to escort them into the ICU. CCU visitors must report to the desk upon arrival to the unit. (Visitation for a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID is only permitted in extenuating circumstances and must be pre-approved by the nursing unit/MD/Nursing Supervisor)
- Adult Inpatient Acute Care Units: One person per patient at a time is permitted between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Visitation for a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID is only permitted in extenuating circumstances and must be pre-approved by the nursing unit/MD/Nursing Supervisor)
- Pediatric Units: Two parents/guardians are permitted when the patient is a minor.
- Special Care Nursery: Call the Special Care Nursery at 908-788-6171 for visitation guidelines and instructions.
- Maternity and Labor & Delivery unit: One significant other/support person is permitted. Once in the unit, the designated support person will have limited access to the other areas of the hospital and will only be able to leave and reenter the unit on a case by case basis. In addition, one doula may be permitted.
- Emergency Department: One visitor per patient is permitted at any time for adult patients. Two parents/guardians are permitted at any time where the patient is a minor.
- Behavioral Health Adult Unit: No visitors permitted until further notice.
- Pediatric Psychiatric Patients: When the patient is a minor, two parents/guardians are permitted if/when a mutual agreement between the care team and the parents/guardian has been reached.
- Visitors may not be present during procedures or in the recovery room, except for pediatrics, childbirth, and patients with an intellectual, developmental or other cognitive disability.
- Same-day surgery or procedure patients, except for pediatrics, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability, may have one support person prior to and after the procedure. The support person may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
- All visitors must undergo symptoms and temperature checks upon entering our facility. If they present with fever or symptoms, they will not be allowed entry into the facility as recommended by the CDC.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
- All visitors will need a face-covering only, unless an individual is permitted to visit a COVID-19 positive patient because of extenuating circumstances. In this situation, staff will direct the visitor on the appropriate PPE.
- At the time of entrance, all visitors must perform hand hygiene and will be provided instructions on how to wear face masks.
- All visitors will be provided with and must wear appropriate PPE as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- If a visitor refuses to wear a mask or other PPE as indicated, that individual will be asked to leave the facility and will not be allowed to return.
Temperature and Symptom Screening
- All visitors must undergo symptoms and temperature checks upon entering the hospital. If they present with fever or symptoms, they will not be allowed entry into the facility as recommended by the CDC.
Prior to and During the Visit
- All visitors must perform hand hygiene before visiting a patient.
- Once in the hospital, visitors shall remain in the patient’s room (or Emergency Department room/bay) as much as possible throughout the visit, except when directed by hospital or facility staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedure or other procedures in which visitors are usually asked to leave.
- All visitors must comply with all reasonable requirements imposed by the hospital or facility to minimize the potential spread of infection.
- Gatherings of family members, friends, and other acquaintances of the patient in waiting areas, the lobby, or the cafeteria is not permitted.
Mask Policy for All Visitors
Once a visitor/support person is approved, they will still need to complete our screening process for COVID-19 Symptoms, which includes
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Phone and video calls to patients are welcome and encouraged.
We apologize for the inconvenience, but the health of our community is of our utmost concern. Safety procedures at Hunterdon Healthcare are created with the intent to protect both patients and staff. Hunterdon Healthcare’s personal protective equipment standards are informed by advice from authorities such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and from the New Jersey Department of Health.
Patients and visitors at any Hunterdon Healthcare site are required to wear a face-covering while on-premises. Exceptions to this requirement are patients who:
* Are unconscious
* Are unable to remove the mask on their own
* Are under the age of two years
* Are in respiratory distress
Patients without one of these exclusions who refuse to wear a face-covering pose a significant risk to healthcare workers and other patients, and thus will not be permitted on premises unless they are:
* Patients who present at the emergency department
* Pregnant patients who present in labor
Visitors who refuse to wear a face-covering are not permitted on-premises.
Additional Policies for All Visitors
- The visitor(s) must be masked before or upon entry to the patient area and stay masked at all times.
- The visitor(s) will have their temperature checked upon entry to the patient area.
- If at any time the visitor(s) demonstrates signs of COVID-19, a respiratory or viral infection, they will be asked to leave the unit and will be unable to return to the hospital.
- The patient and visitor(s) must remain in their assigned room at all times; they are not to walk in the hallway. If a visitor leaves the unit at any time, they will NOT be allowed to return to the unit.
- Hunterdon Medical Center will supply meals to the visitor(s). The visitor(s) should order food using the same procedure as the patient. They will eat in the room with the patient.
- Security will be called for any visitor that violates the visitor policy and they will be escorted out of the building. They will NOT be allowed re-entry into the hospital.
- Hunterdon Medical Center reserves the right to change these policies without notice to provide safe care to our community.
Patient and Family Support
We know that these are very emotional times for you and your family as you may be unable to visit your loved one due to the visitation restrictions currently active due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hunterdon Medical Center is committed to ensuring that you and your loved one have the support you need.
Effective, June 2, 2020, the Patient Family Support Team will no longer facilitate video calls for patients and their families. Moving forward all video call requests will be handled by the patient’s care team. They are able to offer assistance with setting up video visits with your loved one if you so desire.
Please know that we are here to assist you and your family in any way possible through this very trying time.
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