New Visitor Guidelines Now in Effect

Visitor Guidelines for Weeks Medical Center and All North Country Healthcare Hospitals

Weeks Medical Center and its North Country Healthcare affiliates place the highest priority on the health and safety of our patients and staff. Visitor guidelines are continually evolving to protect our patients, caregivers, and employees while balancing the importance of being with friends and family. These guidelines apply to patients who are seen in any NCH affiliate hospital or outpatient care area. Certain affiliates may have minor differences based on the specific needs of their respective patient population.  Visitor guidelines will be reassessed and adjusted based upon the most up-to-date information and recommended best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19. We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep our patients, their families and our staff safe as the pandemic continues.

“Visitors” are considered those who seek to access an NCH facility and who are not directly involved in the care of patients as outlined here but who wish to socialize with and support a patient. Visitors must be at least 14 years of age. Visitors are not allowed to visit any area in the hospital except the specific location in which they are seeing a patient — they may not access the gift shop, cafeteria or other lobbies.

We are permitting selective access to NCH facilities for visitors (as described below) beginning July 1, 2020.

Important Note Regarding Exception for Patients with Disabilities

Patients with disabilities such as significant physical disabilities or intellectual or cognitive disabilities may require the presence of a family member, personal care assistant, or similar disability service provider knowledgeable about the management of the patient’s care and/or able to assist physically or emotionally during the patient’s hospitalization. This will be permitted, and limited to one designated support person. Any restriction outlined below will not apply in this circumstance. The designated support person must comply with the requirements outlined below for all caregivers, all of which are aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19.

Visitor Guidelines

It is important to note that individual departments, sections, or units may have additional constraints or requirements beyond these guidelines, based on the need to maintain patient and staff health and safety. Patients and caregivers should contact the specific department or unit if there are questions.

  • All visitors must be without any COVID-19 symptoms and successfully pass our symptom screening before entering a building. This screening will include a series of questions and temperature check.  Any visitor who has symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted in the building.
  •  Visitors can expect to be screened every time they enter an NCH building and they will be required to wear a personal or NCH-issued mask (adequately covering the nose and mouth) at all times while inside the facility.

Emergency Department

The Emergency Department will remain closed to visitors at this time. There will be an exception of one parent/guardian who is accompanying a minor during an emergency visit. The parent/guardian will be required to pass entry screening and wear a mask at all times.

 

Outpatient Appointments — including Lab, Imaging, Cardiopulmonary, Rehabilitation Services (PT, OT, ST), Cardiac Rehabilitation, Occupational Health, Wound Care

Adult patients who do not require a caregiver, as defined above, should attend their outpatient appointments alone. Visitors are not being allowed to accompany patients during outpatient visits to the physician practices at this time with the exception of a parent/guardian who is accompanying a minor.

Outpatient Procedures

No visitors will be allowed with independent adult patients, however all patients receiving anesthesia will require a responsible adult driver. The driver shall drop the patient at the front entrance prior to procedure and will be notified by phone when the patient is ready for discharge. At that time of discharge instructions can be reviewed with the driver over the phone if requested. Drivers will pick patients up from the front entrance. For minors and/or patients requiring a caregiver, caregivers/parents/guardian (only 1 person) will be screened at entrance doors, will be required to stay in the patient room for the entire surgical visit, and must wear appropriate masks during their time in the building.

Oncology Patients

All patients may have one visitor with them when they meet with their physician for consultation. After that period of time, staff will advise the visitors when the patient will be done with their treatment or testing and can be picked up, if a driver is needed. Visitors shall not be allowed to remain in the infusion area or waiting room.

Adult Inpatients

Patients in observation or inpatient status who are able to receive care in the inpatient environments without the presence of a caregiver to provide physical or cognitive support must do so. Virtual visits are encouraged, and we are happy to assist with them. Inpatient visitors will not be allowed except as outlined below.

Adult Swing Patients, ICF Patients, or Those Inpatient for >72 hours and Are Not COVID Positive

Swing patients are those who are here for short-term rehabilitation, and ICF patients are here for custodial care while awaiting an appropriate discharge. These patients are generally here for longer than 72 hours.

Patients who require longer stays may begin having one visitor per day beginning on the third day of their hospital stay. This visitor must be an adult who passes entry screening and will wear a mask during the duration of their visit. Visiting hours will be limited to the following:

Monday-Friday: 9-11am, 3-6pm

Saturday & Sunday: 10am-6pm

Inpatients >72 hours, Swing Patients, or ICF Patients Who Are COVID-19 Positive or Under Investigation for COVID-19

No visitors will be permitted, except with respect to patients receiving end-of-life care as outlined below. Virtual visits are encouraged, and we are happy to assist with them.

Obstetrics (OB) – Labor, Delivery & Post-partum Care

One caregiver or partner may be present through labor, delivery, and postpartum care.  We are happy to assist with virtual visits and highly encourage them as a way to involve other family members and friends. Siblings, grandparents, and other visitors are not permitted. OB-GYN visits in other outpatient clinical settings may have additional constraints or requirements based on local policies and space limitations.

Pediatrics Inpatient Care

As space and other conditions permit, pediatric patients may have up to two adult primary caregivers (parents or legal guardians only, space permitting) with them. During hospitalization, the two designated caregivers should be the same two people to the greatest extent possible. No other visitors or siblings will be allowed.

Inpatients Receiving End-of-Life Care (e.g., Comfort Measures Only (CMO)), at Risk of Imminent Death

Assuming the patient is not COVID-19 positive or under investigation for COVID-19, two family members/friends may visit at a time. The determination that a patient meets these criteria will be made by the provider or house coordinator and is subject to change based on the patient’s clinical condition.  As with any visitors, they must pass screening and wear a mask while in the building.