ST. MARYS – Joint Township District Memorial Hospital officials announced it will join area hospitals to implement visitation restrictions beginning Jan. 4, 2018 at 3 p.m., in an effort to minimize the spread of respiratory infections to hospital patients, employees and the community. Due to the local presence of the seasonal flu virus the region’s hospitals have opted to implement precautionary measures in order for everyone’s protection.
“We respectfully ask the public to follow these new guidelines during flu season, which lasts through March, 2018,” said Kristi Koch, R.N., Infection Prevention Specialist. “The seasonal restrictions include not permitting children under the age of 14 in the hospital for visitation purposes or anyone who exhibits flu or cold symptoms,” she said.
“Children are particularly likely to carry viruses since they are heavily exposed in the school setting and with the guidelines we hope to minimize exposure in the hospital,” Koch said. The exception is if a parent is bringing a child to the hospital for tests or therapy, or to visit a doctor. There are medical necessities where treatment is important and the visitation restrictions do not apply to children or adults in need of services.
“The action of restricting visitors exhibiting respiratory symptoms, including a fever, coughing and sneezing, and children under the age of 14 is a precautionary measure,” Koch said. “Flu season has started and hospitals want to ensure they can keep unnecessary contamination away from patients whose immune systems are compromised. It is also important to help keep nurses and other patient care employees healthy so that they can take care of the patients,” she added.
There are also exceptions for severe circumstances.
“The visitation restrictions are being implemented with the utmost sensitivity and respect to patients and their families,” Koch explained. “Doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel will work with patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that patients receive the support needed, especially if there is a situation where end of life may be a concern.”
For more information on flu prevention and treatment, visit www.flu.gov.