Local hospitals make changes in response to virus outbreak

Staff Writer

Officials with Baptist Heath-Hot Spring County announced that the visitor access policy has been updated and they are suspending all routine and in-person visits to hospitalized patients.

These are some exceptions:
“We understand that sometimes it’s crucial to have a family sitter or caretaker present, where the patient is undergoing a critical life-threatening procedure or it may be deemed valuable for the patient to have appropriate family caregiver oversight. One caretaker may be allowed on a case-by-case basis for special circumstances such as: patients who have altered mental status or special needs where a caregiver provides needed attention to improve patient safety.

Visitation for critically ill patients who are at end of life, in hospice or suffered severe life-threatening trauma will be made on a case by case basis by clinical leaders.
We are committed to communicating with you about your loved one’s status. With the patient's permission, one designated family member will be called with updates, at least once per day, after the physician rounds.
All hospital common areas, waiting rooms, and cafeteria are closed to visitors.”

Women’s and Children’s Services – One visitor (for the stay) is permitted for labor and delivery and postpartum patients, and two parents or guardians are permitted for NICU or pediatric (under 18) patients.

Emergency Department – Visitors will not be permitted in treatment areas.  If required, one visitor will be allowed to support patients with impairment or mobility needs.

Hospital Outpatient Services – One visitor will be allowed to support treatment for patients with impairment or mobility needs.

Validation of Authorized Family Sitters/Caretakers: At each visitor access point of the hospital, visitors will be asked to sign in and designate who they are visiting. Once access is confirmed, they will be required to answer the following health screening questions and have their temperature validated:   
1 Do you have a fever? Greater than 100.0 will not be allowed to visit.
2 Have you traveled outside of the country within the last 14 days?
3 Do you have respiratory or flu-like symptoms?
4 Have you had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
If the visitor answers “yes” to any of these questions they will be denied access to the facility.

Visitors must be at least 15 years old and meet the above screening criteria each time they enter the facility.  All visitors must follow all required precautions: 
• Follow social distancing guidelines of at least 6 feet distance from each other
• Practice good hand hygiene
• Follow directions of the hospital staff

Officials with the National Park Medical Center also recently announced that they have rescheduled elective and non-urgent cases for 30 days when deemed clinically appropriate. Patients who appointments and being scheduled are being notified and procedures will be rescheduled as soon as feasible.
The hospital staff is continuing to schedule new cases beyond April 19.

“The trust our community places in us is so important. We want to assure our community that it is safe to come to our hospital should you or a family member need care. Our providers and clinical teams are well-trained and prepared to safely respond to viruses and infectious diseases, including COVID-19. We have made the decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent procedures because it will help ensure we have the people and resources necessary to meet the needs of our patients in the coming weeks. We know that it is the right thing to do.”