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Hospital visits are incredibly complicated, even at facilities where NYS is allowing it

The Finger Lakes region is marching toward full-reopening by late-June or early-July. But what will that mean for those looking to visit loved ones at area hospitals?

News10NBC reports that the state is currently working through a pilot program, where 21 hospitals across the state are allowing eased visitation restrictions.

They want to see the outcome before making any final decisions on hospitals across the board.

The state says the following about the program:

“Separation of patients and their loved ones during a hospitalization can cause significant stress and anxiety, and the opportunity to visit hospitalized patients must be done in a manner that continues to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and wellbeing of patients, staff, and visitors. In recognition of this need, a hospital visitation program will be piloted in across New York State. This pilot aims to continue to ensure a safe environment of care while permitting expanded, but still limited, visitation,” the policy reads.

It points out that visits are limited to four hours during the day. Limits those visitors to one per day and time. And prevents total visitation time from exceeding 4 hours.

Here are other limitations of the program:

• Visits are limited to four hours per day per patient, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Health, depending on the patient’s status and condition;

• Visitors are limited to one person at a time unless at hospital’s discretion a limited number of additional persons is determined to be appropriate to allow at the bedside;

• Total time for all visitors cannot exceed the four-hour maximum, unless otherwise authorized by the Department of Health; Informational Message: COVID-19 Pilot Hospital Visitation Program 2

• Patients undergoing same day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process;

• Visitors may not be present during procedures and recovery room except for pediatrics, childbirth, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability as listed in the Revised Visitation Guidance.

• Visitors are provided with and must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) as recommended by the Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

• Visitors must be advised how to perform meticulous hand hygiene and how to wear the PPE, and must adhere to such procedures;

• Visitors who fail to wear a face mask and other PPE will be asked to leave the facility;

• Visitors must undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the facility, and shall be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature over 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit;

• Once in the facility, visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit except when directed by hospital staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedures or other procedures during which visitors are usually asked to leave;

• Health care providers should thoroughly discuss the potential risks and benefits of the visitor’s presence with visitor and, depending upon the patient’s condition, the patient;

• The facility determines appropriate visiting hours;

• All visitors are greater than 18 years of age except in rare exceptions as determined by the hospital; and

• Details about the facility’s visitation policy, including participation in the pilot hospital visitation program, is posted on the facility’s webpage. Any facility participating in this pilot hospital visitation program reserves the right to cease participation and end increased visitation access at any time.