Asante to halt screening, lift visitor restrictions
Asante’s screeners have been a constant and much-appreciated presence for the past two years, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our health facilities. In addition to screeners, patient visitation restrictions were put in place to help keep patients and employees safe.
Now, on Friday, April 1, we’ll turn a page in this pandemic when Asante removes screening procedures and lifts patient visitation restrictions based on updated CMS guidelines. Our hospitals will return to Asante’s pre-pandemic patient visitation policy.
“The visitation restrictions have been a daily challenge for our staff and caregivers who have had to monitor visitor access to our patients,” said Holly Nickerson, Asante’s vice president of Quality and Patient Safety. “I want to express my deepest gratitude for every employee who has worked endlessly to keep our patients and each other safe.”
In its updated guidelines, CMS stated that visitation restriction policies were used to lessen COVID infection rates, while recognizing “that restricting visitation from family and other loved ones has taken a physical and emotional toll on patients.”
As such, CMS has determined that continued federal guidance on visitation restrictions for acute and continuing care facilities is no longer necessary. Asante will continue to display signs that screen visitors and remind all coming into our Asante facilities of our safety protocols such as masking and hand hygiene.
Rules on masking remain unchanged. Anyone entering our health care facilities (hospitals, APP clinics, cancer centers, pharmacy, outpatient center, business offices, etc.) still are required to wear a mask, which are available at visitor entrances. Masks should be worn in all Asante facilities and should only be removed when eating or drinking.
With visitation restrictions and in-person screening requirements being lifted, the cafeterias at our three hospitals will open once again to the general public on April 1.
Although local COVID rates are down, the virus continues to have a presence in our community, and the threat of transmitting the virus remains. Publicly, we will continue to stress the importance of limiting the number of visitors per patient to help reduce the chance of infecting people who are hospitalized as well as our employees.
If we experience another surge, patient visitation restrictions could be put back in place at Asante as a preventive measure.
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If you are allowing visitors to the general hospital setting, do NOT limit visitors to the family birth center. Siblings deserve to come visit their new baby sister or brother in the hospital and not be separated from their parents for a long amount of time. Screen visitors at the family birth center’s doors. Do NOT have separate visitor restrictions for the general hospital vs the birth center.