Valley Health Restricts Hospital Visiting Hours
Community Urged to Protect Patients & Themselves from Exposure
Winchester, Va., January 11, 2013 - With a surge in the incidence of influenza and flu-related illness in the region, hospitals in the Valley Health system are altering patient visiting policies to limit the risk to patients, whose immune systems may be compromised, and to members of the healthcare team.
Beginning Sunday, January 13, visitors to all Valley Health hospitals must be at least 18 years old. Patients may have only two visitors at a time. People with any symptoms of flu-like illness – cough or fever – should refrain from visiting altogether. In addition, visiting hours will be limited to four hours a day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Facilities impacted include Winchester Medical Center, Warren Memorial Hospital, Shenandoah Memorial Hospital and Page Memorial Hospital in Virginia, and Hampshire Memorial Hospital and War Memorial Hospital in West Virginia.
Christopher Rumpf, MD, Valley Health Chief Quality Medical Officer, predicts the visiting restrictions may remain in place until the flu season passes in late winter or early spring. Hospitals across the country are taking similar steps.
“Influenza presented earlier and more vigorously this year,” Rumpf noted. “We have felt the impact at Valley Health, where we’ve experienced high patient volumes in our Emergency Departments and hospital admissions. Because individuals can be contagious before they have symptoms, we decided to take these measures.”
Spouses, significant others, parents or adult children who provide direct care may be granted expanded visiting hours. Exceptions to the policy may be made by the Nursing leadership on a case by case basis.
Family and friends visiting patients at Winchester Medical Center will be required to wear a Visitor ID badge, available at the main entrance to the South Tower and the Information Desk on the first floor of the new North Tower. Other entrances to inpatient care areas will be closed to visitors. Signs will be posted to direct visitors to the proper entrances.
Visiting by email or telephone is encouraged between morning and evening visiting hours. At WMC patients may access their personal e-mail on the TV in their room.
Hand sanitizer and masks are available for visitor use at each hospital.