The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 17, 2013

Hospitals restrict visitors

STAFF REPORT
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — To protect patients, visitors and staff during the influenza outbreak, two local medical centers —Provena United Samaritans Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System — have implemented restrictions on visitors.

VA

In an effort to minimize the risk of veterans contracting influenza, the facility has implemented the following visiting restrictions to the Community Living Center and Acute Care Unit:

--If you have a cough, congestion, runny nose, or fever, do not visit until you have not had symptoms for 24 hours.

--If you must visit, ask a staff member for a protection mask to wear during your visit.

--Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand gel frequently to stop the spread of germs.

--No visitors younger than 18 years of age are permitted.

If you are a veteran enrolled for care at the VA in Danville, or any of the Community Based Outpatient Clinics and you have not already received your flu vaccine, it is not too late. Talk with your Primary Care Team about how you can be vaccinated.

Provena

Provena United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville and Provena Covenant Medical Center in Champaign have initiated the following visitor guidelines, effective immediately:

--Patients will have no more than two visitors at a time.

--People younger than 18 years old, including patients’ children and siblings, are not allowed to visit patients.

--Visitors with symptoms of upper respiratory infection should not visit a patient. If a visitor has such symptoms and must visit for a patient’s well-being, he or she is required to wear a mask.

--Patients who are in isolation for influenza will be limited to receiving only those visitors who are essential for their emotional well-being and care.

“We have an obligation to our patients, our staff, and our community at large to prevent the spread of the virus and protect everyone’s health,” said Jolene Bowen, Provena Covenant’s infection control coordinator, in a press release. “We are asking that all people who have flu-like symptoms, regardless of age, please refrain from visiting patients.”

These steps are based on the recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to decrease the potential for the influenza to spread. Many other hospitals across the country have begun restricting visitors in a similar way to prevent the spread of flu-like illnesses.

“During this period of heightened concern, we sincerely appreciate the cooperation of the public in helping us provide the best possible care for our patients, their families and our community,” said Molly Nicholson, vice president of Patient Care Services at Provena United Samaritans, in the release.

FYI

For more information about the flu, visit www.provena.org/usmc or www.provena.org/covenant.