CEDAR CITY — Intermountain Healthcare has instituted a new sick visitors policy at each of its hospitals, including Dixie Regional Medical Center, Cedar City Hospital and Garfield Memorial Hospital.
The policy now restricts all sick visitors from visiting hospital patients at any time or season in the year.
This is a change from the past policy, which requested that only those 14 and older visit the hospital and allowed visits with certain precautions, like a face mask. The past policy also restricted sick visitors only during certain times of the year, like winter.
“With this new policy, a ‘sick visitor’ is defined as a person – adult or child – that has a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, new rash, vomiting or diarrhea,” Cedar City Hospital patient relations and employee health nurse Janet Malachowski said. “The intent of the policy is to allow us to best protect our patients, especially considering our patients have come to our hospital to heal and get well.”
This policy takes effect immediately, although there will be someone from the hospital waiting to assist visitors who wonder if they will be allowed to enter the hospital.
“There will be a designated individual that will help screen potential visitors as needed, and sick visitors will be asked to refrain from visiting until they are well,” Cyndi Wallace, nurse administrator at Cedar City Hospital, said. “Units with especially vulnerable patients, like those who are battling cancer, have the option with this new policy to impose even stricter visitation limits, including limits based on age or number of visitors.”
There are two exceptions to this policy.
“If a person needs to come to the hospital to see a physician because they are sick, they will need to use the masks provided at the entrances, and use the hand hygiene station upon entering and leaving the hospital concourse,” Wallace said.
The other exception to the new policy includes visiting a patient who is terminal or at end-of-life.
“Intermountain’s motto is, ‘Helping people live the healthiest lives possible,’” said Malachowski. “This new policy helps our hospitals to be able to do just that.”