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Tower Health updates COVID-19 visitation policy

Tower Health has announced changes in its visitation for hospitals in its network, including Reading Hospital in West Reading and Pottstown Hospital in Pottstown.

The changes are aimed to protect patients, staff and the community as the number of COVID-19 cases rise.

Starting Nov. 27, no visitors, except those deemed medically necessary, will be allowed in the hospital.

Some exceptions will be made.

In hospital adult inpatient units:

  • Two visitors for end-of-life patients.
  • Two visitors for COVID-19 positive patients at the end-of-life.
  • Visitors for COVID-19 positive patients who are not end-of-life are permitted only by exception based on clinical judgment.
  • Patients with disabilities (including those who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19) may have one designated support person or guardian stay with them during hospital visiting hours, and one visitor may remain overnight if the hospital can accommodate them.

 

In NICU, inpatient pediatric units, emergency departments, and physician practices:

  • Parents and guardians of pediatric and NICU patients are permitted.
  • Identified times for NICU visitation may be implemented, and the number of parents visiting the NICU at same time may be limited based on the number of patients and capacity to assure social distancing and protection of patients, staff, and visitors.

 

In maternity units:

  • One designated support person is permitted.
  • Doulas are considered part of the care team and are permitted.

 

In emergency departments and psychiatric emergency departments:

  • One visitor per patient in the emergency department only when the patient is a minor (under 18), the patient has a disability, or the visitor is the patient’s communicator and in specific cases of interpreter need.

 

At Reading Hospital Rehabilitation at Wyomissing:

  • No visitors, except those deemed medically necessary, will be permitted.
  • No children under the age of 18 or pets will be permitted.

 

Patients who are not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 may receive religious services from clergy.

A patient’s care team will decide on a case-by-case basis whether having a visitor is clinically appropriate, including when the visitor is a family member supporting the patient by providing care.

There are also changes to outpatient services.

 

In surgical and outpatient procedure departments:

  • One support person may accompany patient for outpatient and same-day surgery or procedure.
  • Guidelines for waiting, notification post procedure, and discharge are specific to each hospital and department and will be communicated to the patient during pre-op/pre-procedure education. If the patient is to be admitted after surgery, the support person will be permitted to visit for a short period while the patient is in recovery.

 

In physician practices, urgent care practices, and ambulatory surgery locations:

  • One designated support person is permitted.
  • No switching of support persons is permitted during the visit.
  • Support persons must remain in the waiting area unless: the patient is a minor (under 18), the patient has a disability, or the visitor is the patient’s communicator and in specific cases of interpreter need.

“As cases surge in our hospitals and communities we must prioritize the health and safety of our patients and team members. As a community we must remain vigilant to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based sanitizer if soap is not available, and practice social distancing,” said Dr. Debra Powell, chief of Infectious Disease and medical director of infection prevention at Reading Hospital.

Writer Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at swescoe@bridgetowermedia.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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