Visitation Policy Effective 4/2/2021
Within the UVM Health Network, we recognize that family members and loved ones are valued members of the healthcare team and play a key role in supporting the wellbeing of our patients. As we seek to limit further the spread of COVID-19 during this new surge, our network is implementing temporary changes to our welcoming policy to protect the health and well-being of our patients and families, our staff, and our community.
Patient and Family Communication: We will make every attempt to accommodate, for the patients and their families, the ability to talk or visualize, via the use of electronic devices, (patient or hospital owned) as necessary, so patients/families stay connected to their loved one’s during this time of social distancing.
- Everyone allowed to enter Network healthcare facilities:
- Must follow current VT State Guidelines for quarantine. Those who have been in close contact with a person sick with COVID-19 must not visit our facilities.
- Will be screened for a fever and COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry. Those with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or have and identified risk based on exposure will not be allowed to visit.
- Is required to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth for the entire time they are in the building. Those not able or willing to wear a mask for the duration of their time in the building will not be permitted entry or allowed to remain within our facilities. Commercial masks with outflow vents are not permitted. A mask will be provided if you do not have an acceptable face covering.
- Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/support animals, or service animals in training are not allowed at this time.
Inpatient/Acute Care and Emergency Department:
- One healthy, fully vaccinated support person per day is permitted on adult inpatient units between the hours of 8am-8pm weekdays and 8am-6pm on weekends except for patients who are COVID+ or PUI. Visitors must present evidence of vaccination, including the Covid 19 Vaccination Card provided to every vaccinated person.
- We encourage patients to limit those that they identify as support persons to one or two consistent family members over the course of the hospital stay but regardless of the numbers identified no more than one person will be permitted per day. An exception to vaccination requirement and visiting hours is permitted for patients with communication or other special needs (including patients who are deaf or who do not understand or speak English and those with cognitive impairments).
- Visitors who are not fully vaccinated are not permitted, with the following limited exceptions (these limits do not count any fully vaccinated visitors):
- 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 may escort an individual undergoing same-day surgery or an ambulatory procedure.
- One support person for patients with communication needs (i.e., persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), or patients with a cognitive impairment or disability who require assistance to access care.
- Inpatient Visitors:
- Visitors will be provided a visitor badge to indicate they have been screened for Covid-19 vaccination or are an approved exception. Their contact information must be logged and they must sign in with a screener for each visit.
- All visitors must wear a mask at all times and are strongly encouraged to remain in the patient room during the duration of their visit, limit traffic in hallways and avoid congregating in waiting rooms, cafeterias and lobbies before, after or between visits. Family members/support persons are permitted to leave and re-enter the building but must be rescreened upon each entry. Family members are strongly encouraged to limit repeated entry and return.
- 2 North, 2 South, ICU
- One healthy, fully vaccinated visitor per day
- One designated support person regardless of vaccination status
- Medical/surgical patients admitted to WACU would be allowed one healthy, fully vaccinated visitor per day
- Parents are not considered ‘visitors’ but are rather considered essential support persons. Two parents/guardians, or one parent/guardian and visitor, may accompany pediatric patients for their entire stay
- One pre-determined/consistent healthy, fully vaccinated support person is permitted. Due to the milieu environment on these units, the identified support person should be consistent day to day.
- Visitors permitted
- Weekdays: 2:30pm-4:00pm and 6:00pm to 8:00pm
- Weekends: 2:30pm to 4:00 pm only
- Surgical Services:
- One visitor or support person regardless of vaccination status may accompany the patient into the pre-procedure area and return to the waiting room during procedure. Visitors are encouraged to leave the hospital and return for patient discharge if they need to wait for an extended period of time. Only fully vaccinated visitors may accompany patients to their room if they get admitted.
- Infusion room visitors must be fully vaccinated
- Emergency Department:
- One healthy, vaccinated support person is welcome at the bedside, unless the patient is COVID+ or PUI. Support persons are not able to wait in the waiting room but can join the patient once in an assigned room.
- The care team may make exceptions to the vaccination requirement in response to emergent needs.
- One healthy parents/guardian at a time are welcome for pediatric patients. An exception may be made to accommodate both parents or guardians as needs and space allow.
- The care team will make determinations for patients in end of life care.
- All support persons must follow the Emergency Department visitor sign-in process.
Exceptions: There are limited exceptions for certain patients and situations outlined below.
- Patients in End-of-Life Care: Two healthy, fully vaccinated support persons at a time are welcomed. Exceptions for visitors not fully vaccinated are to be approved by unit leadership during business hours or the ANC when unit leadership is not available and be identified in Meditech.
- End-of-Life Planning: Family members involved in end-of-life planning may schedule a meeting with the Palliative Care Team. If this meeting is in person, the family members must be vaccinated. Any exceptions for family members not fully vaccinated must be listed in Meditech and they must log in with a screener as a visitor.
- Clergy: Clergy must log in with a screener as a visitor and be fully vaccinated. Any exceptions for clergy not fully vaccinated must be listed in Meditech and they must log in with a screener as a visitor.
- Hospice Care: Hospice nurses, chaplains, and social workers are allowed to enter daily to visit their patients. All hospice care team members must log in with a screener as a visitor.
Process for Exceptions to Inpatient/Acute Care and Emergency Department Policies:
- Any additional exception to be approved by unit leadership during business hours, or by the ANC when unit leadership is not available.
- If exceptions are not able to be resolved, the The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, in collaboration with CVMC’s infectious disease team, will review.
In order to assure appropriate social distancing can be maintained in our waiting rooms and clinics, family/friends are not permitted to accompany adult patients to outpatient visits.
Exceptions: There are limited exceptions for patients who require support and assistance to access their appointment as outlined below:
- Limited Access to Care: One healthy support person is permitted in rare circumstances for a patient who requires assistance to access care (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English) or cognitive impairment who requires assistance to access care. This applies to both outpatient clinic appointments, phlebotomy, and/or diagnostic imaging.
- Pediatrics: One healthy parent or support person should accompany pediatric patients.
- Distressing news and end of life planning: One support person that is not fully vaccinated may be permitted to accompany a patient in anticipation of the following limited circumstances:
- New diagnosis of a terminal illness.
- Patient’s lack of response to treatment, which shifts the conversation towards end-of-life planning.
- Change in the course of treatment that could have significantly negative outcomes, including end-of-life.
- Prenatal Ultrasounds: Obstetrics patients are permitted to bring one support person for their initial first trimester ultrasound and for their 20-week anatomy ultrasound appointments regardless of vaccination status. One support person may attend additional prenatal ultrasounds if fully vaccinated.
- Prenatal Testing in Women and Children’s Unit: One fully vaccinated support persons is allowed. All others, please call the Women and Children’s Unit for exceptions.
- Patient who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as having a family member ‘present’ to listen, participate in the discussion, etc.) are encouraged to include support persons via telephone or video-conferencing technology.
- This policy will be modified on a case-by-case basis for unique circumstances.
- We will make every effort to support patient and family interaction for those not fully vaccinated by deploying the use of technology whenever possible.
- Everyone is asked to sanitize their hands upon entry/exit from the building, entry/exit from the unit or clinic, and entry/exit from patient rooms.
- Support people are asked to avoid eating and drinking in patient rooms as much as possible. Given that eating in close proximity to others remains a high risk activity, if necessary to eat/drink in the patient room, support people should turn away from the patient, only remove their mask to take a bite or sip and then replace the face covering.
- Employees may visit patients either on or off-duty if they are fully vaccinated. They must first be screened at main entrance for visitor clearance. Employees that are not fully vaccinated may only visit if they are an approved exception.
- Cafeteria: Open to staff only.
- Gift Shop: No outside customers, only staff on duty and patients already in the building may visit the gift shop.
- Patients presenting to pay bills: Patients are encouraged to call ahead to make an appointment with a Financial Navigator. Screeners will call 371-4123 for any patient presenting without an appointment or to announce the arrival of an appointment
- Credit union customers: Customers to the credit union must pass the health screening and be fully vaccinated to enter the building. Credit union employees will escort customers in and out of the building if they are not fully vaccinated.
- Vendors: All vendors must pass health screening and be fully vaccinated. Only vendors who are required to provide a medically necessary service, repair, or delivery will be allowed access to CVMC facilities without being fully vaccinated and must pass the health screening.
- Volunteers: All volunteers to be fully vaccinated with the following limited exceptions: certified birth doulas, sexual assault support volunteers, and substance abuse peer mentors. Volunteers should be provided with information on how to become fully vaccinated in order to participate in hospital volunteer programs. Any visitor who does not comply with this policy will be asked to leave the premises.
- Security will be called to respond to any family members/visitors who present significant safety concerns, including unwillingness to mask or comply with social distancing requirements, or refusing to leave when asked on the basis of these concerns.