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Hospital allows visits after alert level lowered

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph)

Hospital patients will be allowed to have some visitors from tomorrow after a fall in the number of coronavirus cases.

An easing of restrictions will follow the “long and brutal” surge of Covid-19 patients linked to the Delta variant of the virus.

A Bermuda Hospitals Board spokeswoman said that the BHB’s disaster alert level would be reduced to two from three.

She added: “Some elective surgeries are taking place this week, with a gradual increase planned over the next few weeks.”

The hospital went down from alert level 4 – its highest – on October 22,

Michael Richmond, the BHB’s chief executive officer, said: “This surge has been a long and brutal one for our patients, the community and our staff.

“Thankfully, with fewer Covid-19 patients in the hospital we have been able to close down the satellite areas we created to manage the surge in hospitalisations.

“Those areas, and the employees who staffed them, have now returned to their normal purpose.

“We know this will come as a great relief to the patients whose surgeries had to be postponed while we dealt with the worst of the surge.”

Judy Richardson, the chief of nursing, added: “While we’re not able to go back to normal quite yet, the steady decrease in Covid-19 hospitalisations and continued reduction in community cases mean we can relax our visiting restrictions.

“We know that seeing loved ones can be great for our patients’ mental and physical health.

“It can also positively contribute to patient safety and quality of care.

“Conversely, having to restrict visitation takes a toll on everyone involved – patients, their families and even our staff.”

In most cases, acute care and long-term care patients will be able to have one or two visitors at a time from tomorrow.

Patients in the Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be allowed to bring someone as a support.

Norma Smith, the vice-president for clinical operations – acute and ambulatory, said: “We are all looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the hospitals.

“The last two months have been very difficult for patients and their loved ones.

“Our nurses and aides have tried to provide as much comfort as possible, but there’s no real substitute for a visit from a family member or friend.

“Please remember, though, that we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to Covid-19.

“We ask that you follow all precautions when you visit – including masking, hand washing and physical distancing.

“Please also adhere to the restrictions that are still in place so we can ensure everyone remains safe.”

She added that anyone with questions about visits can contact the relevant unit clinical manager, the nurse in charge or the night clinical manager on 236-2345.

Ms Richardson added: “I’d like to say a special thank you to our patients and the community for bearing with the restrictions and supporting us through this extremely difficult and heartbreaking surge.

“My thoughts are with those of you who have lost loved ones since the start of the pandemic, and those who have fallen ill.”

Precautions that must be followed when visiting any BHB service:

• Visitors must be masked, including when in patient rooms.

• Visitors must maintain social distancing, including in patient rooms.

• People who have symptoms of Covid-19 or any other infection will not be allowed to visit.

• If someone has travelled, they should not visit or attend the hospitals with loved ones until they have completed their post-travel test requirements and come back clear.

• Visitors will not be allowed to use patient bathrooms and will need to use public restrooms on each floor for infection control.

• Overnight stays are not allowed at present unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Visiting restrictions from tomorrow:

• Acute care patients in the Acute Care Wing units – Ace Barber, Ascendant Partner Re, Catlin Lindo: Patients not on isolation can have up to two visitors in their room at a time between noon and 8pm.

• Acute care patients in the General Wing – Curtis Unit: As these rooms are smaller and have other patients in them, acute care patients in the General Wing can have one visitor in their room at a time between noon and 8pm.

• Isolation patients: For patients on isolation due to infection, or in the first 24 hours of admission while waiting for results of the required Covid-19 test, two designated support people pre-identified by the patient will be able to visit for up to two hours a day.

• Intensive Care Unit: Designated support people can visit for two hours between 10am and 2pm, or 4pm and 8pm. Visitors must be on the ICU visitors list.

Maternity:

• One support may stay up to eight hours after the birth.

• If the mother is not discharged inside 24 hours, the designated support person will be allowed to visit between noon and 8pm.

• Doulas will be allowed for the birth with the designated support person.

• Doulas can make post-birth visits once a day between noon and 8pm

Gosling Unit:

• Up to two parents may visit young patients.

• Adult patients can have up to two designated visitors between noon and 8pm.

Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute Acute Inpatient Care – adult, child and adolescent services:

• Pre-identified support people can visit for 30 minutes each day between noon and 6pm.

• Support people must check in at the front desk.

• One person can visit at any one time and visitation will be in a public space, such as a family conference room.

Long Term Care at the KEMH and MWI, including group homes:

• One designated support person can visit for up to two hours each day between noon and 6pm.

• Isolated patients cannot have visitors.

KEMHEmergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre:

• Patients will be allowed one support person while in the Emergency Department.

• Vulnerable individuals and children will be allowed up to two support people.

• For end-of-life cases up to two support people can attend.

• If someone dies in the ED or is brought to the hospital after death, only one person and one support person for that individual can attend. Up to three people can be in the ED family room. Other family and friends should not attend as there is not adequate space to gather safely and the ability to offer viewings is limited.

* Information about visit rules can be found on the BHB website.

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Published November 03, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated November 03, 2021 at 7:52 am)

Hospital allows visits after alert level lowered

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