CONWAY — Memorial Hospital has updated its visitor policy, allowing some additional visitors while continuing to focus on patient and staff safety.
The new policy, effective as of Monday, July 20, eases access primarily for an individual family member or friend to provide support for the patient. Most departments now allow one or two visitors each day with all visits managed by the patient’s care team.
“The Memorial Hospital team has worked hard to keep our patient’s safe,” said Matt Dunn, chief medical officer. “We’ve added a lot of procedures and protocols to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, including screening and masking everyone who comes into the hospital. The new policy acknowledges COVID-19 is still serious but helps patients by allowing a familiar face to be with them.”
Most other MaineHealth locations have also eased their visitor restrictions, though all are quick to add that continued visitor access depends on ongoing virus activity.
Under the new guidance, patients having a surgical procedure are allowed one person who must remain in a waiting area until the visit is done, provided space is available for social distancing. Some patients, such as those receiving X-ray and other imaging services, are asked to come alone or to arrange for a drop-off and pickup.
For primary care or specialty care practices patients are encouraged to come alone or arrange for drop-off and pick-up unless special assistance is needed.
The emergency department also allows one person as an escort if there is room for social distancing.
Patients in hospital inpatient areas are allowed one visitor per day between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., except for pediatrics, obstetrics and critical care, where two visitors per day are permitted. Up to four family members may visit patients receiving end-of-life care.
Dunn adds that exceptions can be made for patients requiring special assistance such as for mobility or language issues. Exceptions are determined by the patient’s care provider. “Patient care and safety are always at the core of our visitation policies,” he said.
All visitors entering the hospital are screened for COVID-19 and are asked to perform hand hygiene when entering and leaving a patient’s room or care area, to stay at least 6 feet away from the patient as much as possible, and to keep their mask on for the duration of their visit.
“We all recognize the value of family and friends as part of the care team, but now especially we need to balance that with best practices to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep the virus out of the hospital,” Dunn said.