UI Health Care supports patients with updated visitor/support person guidelines, universal face masks
Maintaining its commitment to the highest levels of safety while acknowledging the benefit to patients of having a support person with them while getting care, University of Iowa Health Care has updated its guidelines for visitors at its patient care locations.
The new measures, which begin today, June 2, allow for additional visitors for some patients and include a requirement that everyone wear a face mask at all times while inside all UI Health Care facilities. Patients and visitors are encouraged to bring their own face mask, and masks will also be provided at the entrances to those who need one.
“The safety of everyone inside our facilities remains our top priority,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president for UI Health Care. “We also recognize that having a loved one present helps the recovery process for patients who are hospitalized and helps reduce stress for patients coming in for surgery or a medical procedure. We are finding the balance for both.”
Beginning June 2, the following new visitor/support person guidelines will go into effect:
Adult inpatients, surgical, and procedural patients:
- One visitor/support person will be allowed per day for adult patients.
- Inpatient visiting hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Pediatric inpatients, surgical, and procedural patients:
- Two parents/legal guardians will be allowed per day for pediatric patients.
- To help reduce the risk of infection, pediatric patients hospitalized with COVID-19 will be allowed one parent/legal guardian per day.
Outpatient and emergency room guidelines have not changed
The guidelines have not changed for outpatient and emergency room areas in order to keep social distancing measures. These guidelines remain as follows:
Adult outpatient clinics, including offsite locations and UI QuickCare and UI Urgent Care walk-in clinics:
- Adult patients are asked to attend their appointment on their own.
- Exceptions may be granted to allow an adult visitor/support person when necessary for patient’s care during the appointment.
Pediatric outpatient clinics:
One parent or legal guardian may accompany the child to the appointment.
Emergency Department and Labor and Delivery Unit:
One visitor/support person per patient.
A support person is someone required for a patient's physical or mental well-being. They must be age 18 or older, healthy, and identified by the patient prior to the visit.
Everyone who enters a UI Health Care patient care location—patients, visitors, and employees—are screened at the entrance for fever and symptoms of illness. They are also required to wear a face mask to help maintain safety. A face shield will be provided if they cannot wear a face mask for medical reasons.
Maintaining safety with patients, families in mind
“We have put a lot of thought and planning into how and when to modify our visitor restrictions while continuing high safety standards,” Gunasekaran says. “I am confident that with these new guidelines we can best serve patients and families.”
Gunasekaran emphasizes that safety measures currently in place at UI Health Care facilities—social distancing, hand hygiene, screenings at all hospitals and clinics entrances, continuous cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and common areas, and requiring all employees to wear face shields—will continue.
Current restrictions on visitors/support persons for adult and pediatric COVID-19 patients also will continue. Adult patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are suspected to have COVID-19 will not be allowed a visitor/support person. Pediatric patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 will be allowed one parent/legal guardian. Additional restrictions may be enforced by specific units.
Open and safe for patients with essential health needs
Patients coming to any UI Health Care location for appointments, procedures, or surgery should continue to feel safe as they seek the care they need.
“This is part of our transition to a ‘new normal’ of balancing the needs of patients while maintaining the highest levels of safety,” Gunasekaran says. “I’m proud of how we have responded. As always, we will monitor our response daily and adjust our guidelines, if needed.
“We are here for Iowans, and we will continue to keep you safe as we ease our visitor guidelines,” says Gunasekaran. “That’s what our patients and families expect—and it’s the right thing to do.”