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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Visitor Restrictions, Resources, and Updates

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Further Visitation Restrictions in Effect at UR Medicine Hospitals, Beginning Today

Monday, March 16, 2020


Update: March 27, 2020

Due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19 in our community, we are maintaining these visitor restrictions until it is deemed safe to return to a more traditional visitation policy.

Update: March 26, 2020

  • Zero visitors for most inpatients at Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals
  • Exception: one visitor for pediatric patients, patients in labor
  • Technology tools keep patients, families connected
  • Need for restrictions reassessed March 29
  • Outpatient visits: maximum of one support person, when required

UR Medicine hospitals, following advice from the Monroe County Department of Health, implemented zero-visitation restrictions on March 16 to help protect patients, visitors, and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Limited visitation remains for pediatric patients and patients in labor, and in rare cases exceptions will be made – but virtually all in-person visits to adult patients at UR Medicine hospitals will cease until March 29.

By month’s end, the health system will assess whether it’s safe to lift the temporary restrictions, depending on the severity of COVID-19 in the community. In the meantime, hospital staff are reaching out to support patients and families, and will employ video technology and other communication tools to help patients stay connected with loved ones.

“Circumstances have forced us to make decisions that are emotionally painful for our patients, their loved ones, and all of us who are caring for them,” said Karen Davis, Chief Nurse Executive for UR Medicine and Chief Nursing Officer for Strong Memorial Hospital.

“Our primary goal at UR Medicine is to provide the very best quality of care in an environment that is safe for everyone. To protect our patients, their loved ones, and our caregivers, we must manage their exposure to any illnesses that are easily spread.”

Pediatric patients will be allowed one designated parent/guardian visitor, and patients in labor can have one support person with them during childbirth.  Along with the limitation on inpatient visits, UR Medicine has requested a maximum of one caregiver, when required, for patients at outpatient facilities.

Before the restrictions were enacted, UR Medicine hospitals’ Social Work and Nursing staff began contacting patients and their families to explain the change and develop a plan for each family to stay in touch with the patient.  

“We understand the desire to be with loved ones and the therapeutic benefits visitors contribute towards healing,” said  Kelly Luther, Director of Social Work for Strong Memorial Hospital. “We will continue providing patients with compassionate, patient-centered care, and we are exploring technology and other methods to assist patients in staying connected with their families as much as possible.”

“In rare circumstances, we will need to make exceptions, and we’ve asked patients and families to reach out to us directly when they need assistance,” Luther added. “Their care team will make the decision about whether and how visitation exceptions can be made.”

Hospitals in other communities with COVID-19 outbreaks already have implemented zero-visitor restrictions to protect patients, visitors, and medical staff from the virus.

Today’s zero-visitation guidelines follow other measures UR Medicine has implemented recently: 

  • March 12: UR Medicine is adhering to New York state guidance on restricted visitation for long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • March 13: 1-visitor restrictions in hospitals and at outpatient sites
  • March 15: Postponed non-emergency surgeries, procedures, and clinic visits

“In areas with COVID-19 hot spots, the number of cases can go from only a handful to large numbers very rapidly, straining our ability to provide the care all patients need,” said Michael J. Apostolakos, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals. “The measures we’ve put in place are intended to slow the spread of this virus, help keep our community safe, and ensure our readiness to respond when the community needs us.”

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