UVM Medical Center Welcoming Policy – COVID-19: Effective Saturday, November 14th

View Full Policy

Family members and loved ones play a key role in supporting the wellbeing of our patients. But as COVID-19 cases rise in our region, we need to do everything we can to limit the spread of the virus. This Welcoming Policy is effective Saturday, November 14. We apologize if this policy is inconvenient or frustrating, but we sincerely thank you for helping to keep our patients, staff and community safe.

No visitors are permitted until further notice, with few exceptions. This includes the Emergency Department and outpatient sites.

If you are permitted to enter the facility, you must:

  • Follow current Vermont/New York state guidelines for quarantine. Those who have been in close contact with a person sick with COVID-19 may not enter.
  • Be screened for a fever and COVID-19 symptoms before entry. Those with symptoms such as fever, cough, or difficulty breathing may not enter.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth for the entire time you are here.

Additional information:

  • Only ADA service animals are permitted.
  • In some circumstances, one “essential support person” may be permitted entry as a visitor, as in the case of a patient with communication needs (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English) or cognitive impairment who requires assistance to access care. The support person should not be asked to interpret. The UVM Health Network provides professional interpreting services by hospital-contracted interpreters, who are considered members of the care team.
  • Visitors to our pharmacies who present with any symptoms during screening will be stopped at the entry and provided a pamphlet with the pharmacy phone number. Patients with symptoms will be instructed to exit the building and call the pharmacy.
  • All family members and support persons will be asked to clean their hands upon entry and exit from any unit, patient room, or clinic and upon entry to the building.

Patient and Family Communication:

We will make every attempt to accommodate, for patients and their families, the ability to talk or visualize, via the use of electronic devices, (patient or hospital owned) as necessary, so patients and families stay connected to their loved ones during this time of social distancing.

Limited Exceptions

To limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients, staff and community, effective November 14, no visitors are permitted. The very limited exceptions are outlined below.

Inpatient/Acute Care and Emergency Department – Exceptions

  • Patients in End-of-Life Care In general, one support person will be welcomed when a patient is nearing their end of life. No more than two people at one time may be permitted at end of life.
  • End-of-Life Planning: Families members involved in end-of-life planning must pre-schedule a meeting with the Palliative Care Team.
  • Hospice Care: Hospice nurses, chaplains and social workers may enter daily.
  • Labor and Delivery: One designated support person is allowed on birthing units, extending through the post-partum stay on the mother-baby unit.
  • Pediatrics: Two parents/guardians; only one is permitted at a time, and either one may accompany pediatric patients for their entire stay.
  • Inpatient Psychiatry: No visitors until further notice.
  • Emergency Department:
    • One parent/guardian at a time for pediatric patients.
    • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary).
    • Two designated support people for patients in end-of-life care.
    • All exceptions must sign the Emergency Department visitor log book.

Surgical/Procedural Areas – Exceptions

  • Surgical Services: One visitor/support person may escort an individual arriving for any procedure requiring sedation in the surgical or procedural waiting area. For those patients being admitted to the hospital following a procedure, the support person can remain with the patient until they are called to preop.  The support person has the choice to leave at that time and get a phone update from the surgeon or remain in the surgical waiting area for an in person update from the surgeon in one of our consult rooms. Once they have been updated by the surgeon, they may exit the building.

Outpatient Clinics – Exceptions

  • Pediatrics: One parent or support person should accompany pediatric patients.
  • Limited Access to Care: One support person is permitted in rare circumstances for a patient who requires assistance to access care.
  • Distressing news and end-of-life planning: One support person may be permitted.
  • Fetal Ultrasound: Obstetrics patients are permitted to bring one support person to their 20-week ultrasound appointment.
  • Diagnostic Imaging, Laboratory and Express Care: One support person over the age of 18 may accompany patient to visits if the patient requires assistance to access their appointment. One parent/guardian may accompany pediatric patients.
  • Patients who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as having a family member ‘present’ to listen) are encouraged to include support persons via telephone or video-conferencing technology.