Prisma Health restricts visitation amidst ‘growing surge of COVID-19 infections’

Prisma Health restricts visitation amidst ‘growing surge of COVID-19 infections’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Prisma Health officials said visitation will be restricted across its hospital system beginning Jan. 9.

The decision was made “in the wake of a growing surge of COVID-19 infections across South Carolina,” officials said.

Prisma said most visitation to patient rooms will be paused beginning Saturday.

Limited visitation will be allowed in the following circumstances:

  • Pediatric patients, with only one care partner allowed 24-7 except for a one-hour daily transition period in which both parents or legal guardians may be present for physician discussions and joint training.
  • Obstetric patients who are pre-term, in imminent labor, laboring, high-risk and post-partum may have one care partner.
  • Patients undergoing sedating procedures such as colonoscopies may have one care partner.
  • Case-by-case approval is required for visitation for those requiring additional assistance from care partners, such as for patients with dementia.
  • For emergency department care, the ED team will use their discretion in the interest of patient care in the treatment of children, older adults and any patients with special needs.
  • Up to three visitors may be allowed in end-of-life situations.
  • Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are not permitted to have visitation except under special case-by-case approvals.

Outside of hospital settings, Prisma has set the following visitation limits:

  • Visitation will be limited to one care partner for obstetric patients and oncology patients except in infusion areas.
  • Pediatric patients are allowed one care partner, except for infants under two months of age who may be accompanied by both parents.
  • One care partner is allowed for adults with special needs.
  • Care partners are not allowed to accompany a patient for laboratory or radiology services unless the patient needs extra help.

Prisma said its staff will work with patients and families to facilitate virtual visits in other situations.

“We know that being with families is itself a healing therapy and so we wrestled with this decision. But we believe this measure is needed in the wake of the growing post-holiday surge of COVID-19, especially given the growing community spread,” said Dr. Eric Ossmann, an emergency medicine physician who is Prisma Health’s Chief of Preparedness and leads its COVID-19 response system-wide.

When visitors are allowed, they must be screened before entering the building and wear a mask at all times, Prisma officials said. Children under the age of 18 will not be allowed except in end-of-life situations.

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