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 maskat all times. Family members/support persons entering for visitation will provide contact information as part of the entry process.
  • Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/ support animals, are not allowed at this time.
  • No visitation is permitted by children under the age of 16.

Inpatient/ Acute Rehab at Fanny Allen:

  • Patients are permitted one support person. We recommend one consistent family member/support person, however the patient may chose an alternate if necessary. Only one family member/support person is permitted at a time.
  • For pediatric patients- one consistent parent/support is strongly recommended, but both parents can be welcomed when necessary and appropriate.
  • Patients in end of life care- Visitation for patients in end of life care will be managed by their care team. No more than two family members at one time may be permitted in the patient room at the end of life.
  • Patient's identified support person (and alternate when appropriate) 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.
  • For dual occupancy rooms, consistent with our pre-COVID welcoming policy, family presence will be supported dependent on the space available and needs and preferences of both patients. To facilitate this process:
    • CLM teams will establish a room occupancy max to assure appropriate social distancing
    • Curtains must be pulled and visits with family/support persons may need to be scheduled with duration limits to assure room occupancy max is not exceeded
    • Family/support persons may be asked to step outside the room when the care team is providing care. The individual will be directed to an appropriate place to wait and given an estimated time to return to reduce lingering in hallways.
  • No overnight visitors are permitted, except in when needed for quality care including exceptions such as for pediatric patients, patients with communication impairment or other special needs (such as for those patients who are deaf or who do not understand or speak English and those with cognitive impairments) and patients nearing the end of life. Those family members/support persons who meet one of these exceptions and are permitted to remain overnight must remain masked throughout the night. Those who do not meet an exception criteria will be asked to leave by 9pm and permitted re-enter beginning at 5am or later the following morning.
  • No visitors, other than limited exceptions such as for a pediatric patient testing positive or a labor and delivery patient, 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. Any exceptions are managed by the physician and nurse leader of the unit.
  • Any additional exception to this policy can only be made by the physician and nurse leader of the unit 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.
  • All inpatient units will implement access control, and those who arrive will check in upon entry to the unit to confirm that they are an approved support person listed in the patient record. Each unit has check in instructions posted at the entry of the unit.
  • All family member/support persons 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.
  • Family/support persons remain restricted for surgical patients arriving at Fanny Allen and from acute rehab patients, due to space constraints impacting social distancing. The care team will coordinate with the patient and family to assure ongoing communication and to assure a smooth transition into the building and discharge following the procedure for surgical patients.

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.
  • Patients in the ED or Urgent Care will be permitted one consistent family member/support person.

Outpatient Clinics:

  • Family/friends 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 support person is permitted in 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.
  • 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:

  • In all settings, for patients with a communication need (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), cognitive impairment or disability, interpreters are welcomed as members of the care team. They are not visitors and their presence does not impact the patient’s ability to be supported by a family member.
  • Visitors to our pharmacies who present with any symptoms during screening will be stopped at the entry and provided with a pamphlet with the pharmacy phone number on it. Patients with symptoms are instructed to exit the building and call the pharmacy. The call will prompt a staff member to deliver the prescription to the patient’s car.
  • All family members/support persons 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 individual 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 including unwillingness to mask or comply with social distancing requirements.
  • Employees continue to be restricted from visiting patients either on or off-duty unless they are identified as the approved family member/support person.