Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) announced May 19 that it has lifted its no-visitor policy for its hospitals in Kentucky and West Virginia, but some restrictions will remain as the system continues to closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a statement issued by ARH, anyone entering an ARH facility is required to wear a mask (cloth and other homemade masks are encouraged) and will be screened for fever and illness before entering the building.
Beginning May 19, visitors 18 years old or older will be permitted to visit patients at ARH hospitals under the following restrictions:
• Patients at end of life may have two visitors.
• Adult inpatients at ARH hospitals (except patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or those in isolation) may have one visitor per day, who should remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit, during the set visiting hours of 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day and during discharge instructions.
• Adult and pediatric (age 17 and younger) Emergency Department patients and patients scheduled for surgery or a procedure (inpatient or outpatient) may have one person accompany them into the facility.
• Maternity patients may have one designated support person for labor, delivery and duration of the mother’s hospital stay. The one designated support person is deemed the support person throughout the mother’s stay.
• Pediatric patients, including neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), may have one visitor who is a parent or guardian.
• Pediatric patients who test positive for COVID-19 or for whom a COVID-19 test is pending may have one parent or guardian visitor. The visitor should not have COVID-19. (If there is a known positive visitor/guardian, that individual must be directly escorted to the patient’s room.)
Emergency departments (visitor allowed 24 hours in ED)
• Adult Emergency Department patients may have one person accompany them into the facility.
• Pediatric Emergency Department patients may have one parent/guardian accompany them.
• No visitors permitted in the Emergency Department when the patient has known respiratory conditions.
Inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures
• All patients and visitors should arrive wearing a mask and will complete a screening when entering the facility.
• Adult patients having a procedure or surgery may have one person accompany them into the facility and for discharge instructions.
• Pediatric patients having a procedure or surgery may have one parent or guardian accompany them into the facility and for discharge instructions.
• During the procedure, all visitors will be requested to wait in their vehicle and will be notified when it is time to return to the facility to coordinate discharge instructions as needed.
Behavioral Health Facilities / Skilled Nursing Facility
• No visitors allowed on adult behavioral health units until further notice.
• No visitors allowed in skilled nursing facilities until further notice.
ARH Chaplaincy Service: ARH welcomes chaplains for patients in palliative care, (end-of-life care), emergency care and hospice care.
Visitation guidelines for ARH Physicians’ Offices / Clinics, include:
• Patients should contact their provider’s office prior to their appointments to be fully informed of the required conditions.
• Adult patients who do not require assistance may not be accompanied in the doctor’s office/clinic.
• Pediatric patients may have one parent or guardian to accompany them in the doctors’ office/ clinic.
• Patients should wait in their vehicles or outside the office and call the office before entering the doctor’s office/clinic.
• All patients, including parents/guardians of a pediatric patient and/or a guest of those patients who need assistance, should arrive wearing a mask and will be required to complete a screening prior to their appointments.
Important information for all visitors
• All visitors should arrive wearing a mask and the mask must be worn at all times while in an ARH facility.
• All visitors will be screened when entering an ARH facility. Those with fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, body aches or respiratory symptoms will not be allowed entry.
• All visitors should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or apply hand sanitizer when entering and leaving patient rooms.
• Any visitor must stay in the patient’s room the entire time of the visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient’s room, they must leave the facility immediately and the visitor will not be permitted to return for that day.
“We understand the importance of family and friends in the healing process, especially during these times of such uncertainty,” said ARH chief medical officer Maria Braman, MD. “We appreciate our communities’ understanding and cooperation as ARH takes a cautious approach to resuming some visitation in our facilities while we slowly and methodically return our services to what will be our new normal for healthcare. As we open up visitation, we remind our patients and visitors that we are still living in a worldwide pandemic and encourage them to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves.”