Beginning on Monday, April 13, outpatient clinics affiliated with UVA Health and its Emergency Department will not permit visitors. The University Hospital and its affiliated clinics will no longer welcome visitors after the holiday weekend, with exceptions allowed at the discretion of the unit manager. If granted an exception, a visitor will be screened for COVID-19 through a temperature check each time they enter the medical facility. All visitors who are granted an exception by a patient’s care team must exhibit no coronavirus symptoms in order to gain access.
In a newsroom update dated April 10, UVA Health clarified their visitor guidelines by outlining common cases for exceptions to the new policy.
“Visitors are not allowed at the hospital,” the updated policy reads. “Beginning Monday, April 13, visitors will not be allowed to come along with patients in clinics or in the Emergency Department. Exceptions are allowed in all areas…If [a patient is] facing death, we can allow two visitors, 24/7. If you’re having a baby, you can get an exception to have one visitor, 24/7…A unit manager can allow pediatric patients to have two people listed as designated visitors. However, children can only have one visitor with them at a time. To protect pediatric patients, visitors need to limit going in and out of the hospital. Staying for longer periods of time with the child will help reduce possible exposure.”
In addition, UVA Health described what any given individual — previously granted an exception to the crackdown on visitors by calling 434.924.0000 — might expect when attempting to enter an affected area.
“Beginning Monday, April 13, all patients and visitors will have their temperatures checked when entering facilities at the main UVA Medical Center grounds — including the inpatient hospital and Emergency Department — in addition to symptom screening questions now being asked,” a news release from UVA Health stated. “If a patient or visitor has a temperature of more than 100 degrees, patients will be provided a mask and visitors will not be permitted.”
While stressing the importance of limiting visitors in order to promote public safety, the health system’s statements were sympathetic to the emotional toll of the forthcoming change in policy.
“These changes are being made to protect the health of our patients and team members during the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement read. “It’s really tough not being able to be at the bedside of a loved one in the hospital. To protect both our patients and the wider community, we’ve had to make these unfortunate changes to our visitor policies. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can stay in touch.”
In addition to phone calls and virtual visitation, UVA Health is allowing mail and eCards to reach their inpatient units on weekdays. If an eCard is selected, it will be printed and hand-delivered to the desired recipient. If the patient has left the hospital by the time their mail is received, it will be forwarded to the address previously provided. Virtual visits may be accommodated by Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger.
“We have more than 13,000 individuals that work as part of our health system, and every one of them is working day and night, really hard, to take care of our patients,” Kent said. “Any opportunity that anyone has to say, ‘thank you,’ I think would be really appreciated. They are doing great work and I could not be prouder to be a part of that team.”
The media contact for this press release is Public Information Officer Eric Swenson. He may be contacted by email at ews3j@Virginia.EDU or by phone at 434.924.5770.