WILMINGTON, DE — Due to increasing transmission rates of COVID-19 in the community, ChristianaCare recently announce that it is returning to limited visitation at its facilities in addition to continuing to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours for all visitors.
The policy took effect on Sunday, January 2, 2022, and includes no visitors being allowed for hospitalized patients at Christiana, Union and Wilmington Hospitals except in the circumstances outlined below. Visitor hours are from noon to 7 p.m. for the following:
- Individuals coming to the emergency department may have one support person accompany them, who must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, but is not required to show proof of vaccination or a recent test. Once the patient is admitted to the hospital from the ED, the inpatient visitor policy will apply.
- Patients in OB Emergency may have one support person accompany them who must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms but is not required to show proof of vaccination or a recent test. Once the patient is admitted, the inpatient visitor policy will apply.
- Patients in Labor & Delivery may have two support people accompany them, one of whom may be a doula. Once admitted after delivery, patients may have one support person.
- Patients in Postpartum units may have one support person. Support persons are exempt from providing proof of vaccination/testing for the first two calendar days after delivery, but thereafter must be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in the prior 72 hours.
- Patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and pediatric units may have two support persons per day, one of whom is a parent or guardian.
- Patients with intellectual or developmental disabilities, as defined by the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) or Maryland Department of Health (MDH), including chronic cognitive impairment such as dementia, may be accompanied by one support person. This includes patients presenting with an acute problem such as a stroke that is expected to require a support person/caretaker upon discharge.
- Up to two visitors total are allowed for patients in hospice who are at end of life. The two visitors may visit at the same time. The two visitors may switch with other family members as necessary at the discretion of the unit manager or charge nurse.
- Patients having outpatient surgery may have one support person accompany them.
- Patients presenting for ambulatory visits or diagnostic tests may have one support person if the patient has disabilities requiring assistance for their visit.
- Unless otherwise specified above, alternating support persons throughout the day is not allowed. The visitor must be the same person for the entire day and must be 16 years of age or older. They will receive a visitor badge at Christiana and Wilmington hospitals, or a wrist band at Union Hospital.
General Visitor Requirements:
- All support persons/visitors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and will not be permitted entry if they fail the screening procedure.
- In addition to the symptom screening, visitors and support persons for hospital inpatients and for outpatient surgery must also show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 OR have a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours. Fully vaccinated is defined as having had two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A digital or paper copy of their vaccination record or negative test will be accepted. Visitors/support persons for patients in Labor & Delivery, OB-GYN emergency or the emergency department are not required to have proof of vaccination or a negative test.
- Patients at ChristianaCare’s outpatient practices and services in the community, including labs, rehabilitation services and imaging, are advised to come to your appointment alone unless a support person is absolutely needed. If a support person is needed, such as a parent or guardian or a spokesperson, this person will need to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 OR have a negative COVID-19 test within the prior 72 hours.
- For ambulatory visits, parents should make every attempt to find childcare to avoid bringing non-patient children (i.e., siblings) into the facility. If childcare is not available, bringing such children to a visit must be discussed with the practice/area in advance.
- If a support person/visitor is allowed per policy, the unit/department staff shall provide instruction, before they enter the patients’ rooms, regarding hospital policies to prevent spread of COVID-19, as well an any other pathogens for which transmission-based precautions may be required.
- Visitors may not stay overnight.
All support persons/visitors/companions should:
- Follow masking guidelines, respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette precautions while in the common areas of the facility.
- Bring cloth or other masks from home if possible. If not masked upon arrival, a mask will be provided. Loose-fitting cloth masks, bandanas, gaiters, and cloth masks with valves are not permitted. Masks that are provided should be re-used until damaged or soiled, or no longer able to be breathed through.
- Respect social distancing of at least six feet as much as possible, including in the patient’s room.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently with soap/water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and limit surfaces touched.
- Remain in the patient’s room except for entry to/exit from the hospital/facility to the extent possible. Visitors should limit their movement within the facility and if required to wait in the lobby should remained masked and physically distant from others.
- All support persons/visitors/companions must remain masked for the duration of their visit, even if they are vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test. This includes remaining masked while the in the patient’s room. When possible, the patient should also be masked when visitors are present.
- Visitation privileges may be discontinued at any time based on the clinical situation of the patient, visitor noncompliance.Visitors should allow extra time for the screening process.Visit christianacare.org for detailed information on visitation at a ChristianaCare facility.
ChristianaCare also stated that it understands that these restrictions are challenging for families who wish to visit and be with loved ones. However, these restrictions are designed to protect patients, their loved ones and health care workers during this time when coronavirus, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses circulating in the community.
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