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Updated Visitation Policy in Response to COVID-19

At the University of Vermont Medical Center we recognize that family members are valued members of the health care team who play a key role in supporting the healing process. At this time, as we seek to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, we are making temporary changes to our Welcoming Policy to protect the health and well-being of our patients and families, our staff and our community.

To protect the safety of our facility and our ability to care for our community we are implementing the following:

 For All:

  • Entrances into all UVM Medical Center buildings and clinics will be restricted and everyone who enters will be screened (for fever and quarantine status) prior to entering any building. Persons reporting that they are have been asked to quarantine by a health care provider or through state mandates will not be permitted to enter. All patients and families will be required to wear mask.
  • Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/ support animals, are not allowed at this time.

Inpatient/ Acute Rehab at Fanny Allen:

  • No visitors are permitted at this time and until further notice with some very limited exceptions.
  • Limited exceptions are allowed regardless of the COVID status of the patient. Those exceptions include:
    • One support person on Labor and Delivery
    • One parent or support person for pediatric patients- one consistent support is strongly recommended, but when necessary a second support can be identified as an alternate
    • One visitor/support person escorting an individual undergoing same-day surgery or an ambulatory procedure
    • One support person to be included in patient/family education at time of discharge.
    • One consistent support person may be permitted in other rare circumstances such as for a patient with a communication need (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), cognitive impairment or disability who requires assistance to access care. This does not include Interpreters who are members of the care team.
    • Patients in end of life care- Visitation for patients in end of life care will be managed by their care team.  One support person will be welcomed when a patient transitions to comfort measures.  No more than two family members at one time may be permitted in the patient room at the end of life.
  • An additional exception to this policy can only be made by the physician and nurse leader of the unit or clinic impacted. If the care team does not have consensus with regard to limited exceptions, the Chief Medical Officer, or the ANC/APC on evenings, nights and weekends, will be the final decision maker in all cases.
  • For patients who meet the criteria for an exception to the restriction on visitation, their identified support person should be documented in the EPIC sticky note. In circumstances, where the patient is unable to identify their preferred support partner, the care team will work with family available to make a determination and document the identified and permitted support person in EPIC.
  • Visitors who meet these exceptions will be screened upon entrance to the building before being allowed to visit. Those with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and/or an identified risk based on exposure will not be allowed to visit and can connect with the unit by phone to identify an alternate.
  • All inpatient units will implement access control, and those visitors who arrive as approved exceptions will check in upon entry to the unit to confirm that they are an approved exception visitor listed in the patient record. Each unit has check in instructions posted at the entry of the unit.
  • All exception visitors are strongly encouraged to remain in the patient’s room during the duration of the visit, limit traffic in hallways and avoid congregating in waiting rooms, cafeterias and lobbies before, after or between visits.
  • No visitors, other than limited exceptions outlined above, will be permitted with patients suspected of having or testing positive for COVID-19, however we will make every effort to support other means of patient contact and support, including contact facilitated by use of video technology as available.

Emergency Department and Urgent Care:

  • All patients entering the Emergency Department or Urgent Care will be screened at the entrance. Anyone patient presenting with symptoms compatible with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is required to wear a mask.
  • No visitors are permitted with few exceptions:
    • One parent or support person should accompany pediatric patients
    • One consistent support person may be permitted in other rare circumstances such as for a patient with a communication need (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), cognitive impairment or disability who requires assistance to access care
    • Visitation for patients in end of life care (in the ED only)

Outpatient Clinics:

  • Visitors/family members are not permitted to accompany patients to outpatient visits unless the patient requires support and assistance to access their appointment. Support people providing this level of assistance by accompanying a patient will be screened upon check-in at the clinic.
  • One parent or support person should accompany pediatric patients
  • Support people who have respiratory symptoms will not be permitted to enter the clinic and should follow-up with their own healthcare providers.
  • Patients who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as a family member to listen, participate in the discussion, etc.) are encouraged to include support people via phone or other technology.

Other:

  • Visitors to our pharmacies who present with any symptoms during screening will be asked to wear a mask and directed to proceed directly to the pharmacy.
  • Any approved visitors will be asked to clean their hands upon entry/exit from the building, entry/exit from the unit or clinic and entry/exit from patient rooms.
  • Any visitor who does not comply with these institutional rules or institutional infection control policies will be asked to leave the institution.
  • Security will be called to respond to any family members/visitors who refuse to leave when asked or who present other safety concern.