Mohawk Valley Health System Updated Visitation Policy

Effective Monday, October 18, 2021

As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine and with the continued decline of COVID patients in our hospitals and those testing positive in our region, we felt comfortable opening up visiting hours for our patients and their families. Restricting visitation these past few months was critical to keeping our staff and patients safe. However, we are so pleased that our numbers are now in a place where we can welcome back the friends and families of our patients – we know how hard it has been on them not to be able to see each other during this vulnerable time.
The new visiting hours will go into effect on Monday, October 18, 2021.

Visitor Guidelines – Inpatient Hospital Units

  • Visiting hours for inpatient hospital units are from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
  • Patients can have two visitors at a time during the designated visitation hours. The two visitors may go to the patient room together or separately, but “switching” out for additional visitors during a two-hour visitor block will no longer be allowed.
  • Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia may designate one support person to remain with them through their hospitalization. An additional visitor may also be with the patient during hospital-designated visiting hours.
  • Pediatric patients may have two designated support persons with them at all times.
  • Patients in imminent end-of-life situations may have two designated support persons with them.
  • Visitors will be screened (temperature check and asked about symptoms). Visitors will be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • Visitors will be given a mask to wear for their entire visit and will be instructed in appropriate hand hygiene.
    • Visitors will be asked to leave the facility if they fail to or refuse to wear a mask.
  • Visitors must maintain social distancing of six feet even in the patient room.
  • A visitor must remain in the patient room unless otherwise directed by the clinical staff.
    • At this time, the hospital cafeterias remain open only to employees.
  • At this time, we will not be expanding visitation to patients who tested positive for COVID-19 or are persons under investigation for COVID-19, unless there are special circumstances as defined by the NYS Department of Health in its earlier guidance. This includes:
    • Patients in labor, delivery, and the remainder of the patients’ admission;
    • Pediatric patients;
    • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia; and
    • Patients in immediate end-of-life situations.
  • All visitors will be given a one-page hand out that details visitor guidelines, provides information on safety measures such as hand hygiene, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing, and contact information for questions.
  • All visitors must be older than 12 years of age except for previously documented exceptions.
  • Note that visiting in the inpatient psychiatric unit has not changed at this time. Patients in this unit need a doctor’s order for visitation and only one visitor is allowed per day from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Emergency Department

  • Only one support person will be allowed to accompany an Emergency Department (ED) patient given the high volumes in our EDs and the need to appropriate social distance both patients and support persons.
  • The support person(s) will be screened (temperature check and asked about symptoms). The support person will be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • The support person(s) will be given a mask to wear for their entire visit and will be instructed in appropriate hand hygiene. If they refuse to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the facility.
  • The support person(s) will provide contact information on the required visitor card and wear a visitor name badge.
  • Support persons must maintain social distancing of six feet even in the patient room.
  • While a patient is undergoing treatment, the support person(s) may wait in their car or will be directed to an assigned area.
  • Allowing a support person for critical care in the ED will be assessed and managed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Support person(s)/visitor(s) will be asked to leave if the patient is admitted.
  • Special circumstances in the ED include:
    • Pediatric patients – one parent/guardian may accompany the patient throughout their ED visit
    • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their ED visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.
    • Patients in immediate end-of-life situations – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their ED visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.

Visitor Guidelines – Maternity

  • Two support persons, including a doula if requested, may accompany the patient throughout labor, delivery, and the postpartum period, including recovery, until discharge to home. The support persons can be the patient’s spouse, partner, sibling, parent, or other persons of their choice. These support persons may be with the patient outside of the hospital’s regular visiting hour blocks
  • The laboring woman’s support persons must be in good health and must not be a person under investigation (PUI) or COVID-19 positive.
  • The support persons will be screened (temperature check and asked about symptoms). Screening includes a temperature check every 12 hours by nursing staff and screening questions.
    • The support person will be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The support persons will be given a mask to wear for their entire stay and will be instructed in appropriate hand hygiene.
    • Masks can be removed for bathing or eating only.
    • Scrupulous hand washing and hygiene is a must.
  • The support person(s) will be asked to leave the facility if they fail to or refuse to wear a mask.
  • The labor support person(s) will be allowed to use the patient’s bathroom/shower.
  • The hospital cafeteria will be open to the labor support person to purchase meals.

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Medical Appointments

  • Patients attending a medical appointment may be accompanied by a companion.
  • The support person will be screened (temperature check and asked about symptoms). The support person will be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature equal to or greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The support person will be given a mask to wear for their entire visit and will be instructed in appropriate hand hygiene. If they refuse to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the facility.

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Outpatient Testing and Diagnostics

  • Patients undergoing outpatient diagnostics and testing may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process. The support person/companion may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
  • After intake, support persons/companions will be asked may either wait in their car until discharge or go to a directed to a designated waiting area.
    • If directed to a designated area within the hospital, the support person/companion will be screened and be required to wear a mask.
    • The support person/companion will be directed not to leave the designated area and provided with a one-page handout of guidelines and instructions for safety measures such as hand hygiene and social distancing.
      • At this time, the hospital cafeterias remain open only to employees.
    • A support person/companion will be asked to leave if they refuse to wear a mask or do not adhere to the appropriate safety measures.
  • MVHS has granted exceptions from this policy for:
    • Ultrasound for pregnant women – partner may accompany
    • OB Clinic – partner may accompany
    • Patients needing special assistance (frail, wheelchair) – support person may accompany
  • Special circumstances in the outpatient, procedural and testing areas include:
    • Pediatric patients – two support persons may accompany the patient throughout their time at the hospital except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.
    • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Outpatient Procedures and Surgeries

  • Patients undergoing same day procedures or surgeries may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process. The support person/companion may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
  • After intake, support persons/companions will be asked may either wait in their car until discharge or go to a directed to a designated area.
    • If directed to a designated area within the hospital, the support person/companion will be screened and be required to wear a mask.
    • The support person/companion will be directed not to leave the designated area and provided with a one-page handout of guidelines and instructions for safety measures such as hand hygiene and social distancing.
      • At this time, the hospital cafeterias remain open only to employees.
    • A support person/companion will be asked to leave if they refuse to wear a mask or do not adhere to the appropriate safety measures.
  • Special circumstances in the outpatient surgery and procedural area include:
    • Pediatric patients – two support persons may accompany the patient throughout their time at the hospital except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.
    • – Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Outpatient Testing and Diagnostics

  • Patients undergoing outpatient diagnostics and testing may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process. The support person/companion may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
  • After intake, support persons/companions will be asked may either wait in their car until discharge or go to a directed to a designated waiting area.
    • If directed to a designated area within the hospital, the support person/companion will be screened and be required to wear a mask.
    • The support person/companion will be directed not to leave the designated area and provided with a one-page handout of guidelines and instructions for safety measures such as hand hygiene and social distancing.
      • At this time, the hospital cafeterias remain open only to employees.
    • A support person/companion will be asked to leave if they refuse to wear a mask or do not adhere to the appropriate safety measures.
  • MVHS has granted exceptions from this policy for:
    • Ultrasound for pregnant women – partner may accompany
    • OB Clinic – partner may accompany
    • Patients needing special assistance (frail, wheelchair) – support person may accompany
  • Special circumstances in the outpatient, procedural and testing areas include:
    • Pediatric patients – two support persons may accompany the patient throughout their time at the hospital except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.
    • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.

Visitor/Support Person Guidelines – Outpatient Procedures and Surgeries

  • Patients undergoing same day procedures or surgeries may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process. The support person/companion may rejoin the patient for the discharge process.
  • After intake, support persons/companions will be asked may either wait in their car until discharge or go to a directed to a designated area.
    • If directed to a designated area within the hospital, the support person/companion will be screened and be required to wear a mask.
    • The support person/companion will be directed not to leave the designated area and provided with a one-page handout of guidelines and instructions for safety measures such as hand hygiene and social distancing.
      • At this time, the hospital cafeterias remain open only to employees.
    • A support person/companion will be asked to leave if they refuse to wear a mask or do not adhere to the appropriate safety measures.
  • Special circumstances in the outpatient surgery and procedural area include:
    • Pediatric patients – two support persons may accompany the patient throughout their time at the hospital except when otherwise directed by medical personnel.
    • – Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary) including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia – one support person may accompany the patient throughout their visit except when otherwise directed by medical personnel