Flexible 3-tiered approach factors in current facility and public health risk levels
Thursday, November 18, 2021 (5:39 pm) WINCHESTER – Valley Health is implementing a new three-tiered approach to hospital and outpatient facility visitation across the health system beginning Monday, November 22. The new standardized framework assigns a green, yellow or red visitation level associated with a low, medium or high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and influenza for patients and caregivers.
Valley Health will enact its Level Red Visitation Policy on Monday due to the high risk of transmission at this time, as determined by an algorithm that combines health system data with public health data and current trends. This change in process streamlines Valley Health’s ability to determine and communicate safe practices for those who are providing support for a hospitalized patient or accompanying a loved one to an outpatient appointment.
The new guidelines are built around designated Care Partners, family members or trusted friends 18 years or older who are chosen by the patient to be an active part of their care team. Each easily understood visitation level (red, yellow and green) spells out the privileges and responsibilities for Care Partners and varies according to hospital unit or care setting, and level of patient acuity. The new policy takes into account the important role that Care Partners play at the bedside, while ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, staff and the broader community.
“We understand the importance for our patients of having the support of a Care Partner during their hospital-ization,” said Theresa Trivette, DNP, Valley Health Chief Nursing Executive. “The amendments we have made to our visitation process will better enable the presence of a supportive care partner while still protecting patients and caregivers from potential exposure risk.”
Since March 2020, when the first patient with COVID-19 presented for care, Valley Health staff throughout the region have focused on protecting the safety of patients, visitors and caregivers from the highly contagious virus. Valley Health’s hospitals, nursing facilities and outpatient sites have restricted visitors and required face masking, other PPE, distancing and handwashing to prevent COVID-19 transmission in this vulnerable population of hospitalized patients and long-term care residents.
“We know that visiting restrictions have been a necessary, but difficult, factor for our patients and families over the last 20 months, but we feel a profound responsibility to protect our patients and workforce,” said Valley Health Quality and Patient Safety Officer Nicolas Restrepo, MD. “While our COVID-19 patient volumes recently declined from record highs, we continue to experience surges in COVID patient volumes, as well as a consistently high community positivity rate. With influenza season upon us, we wanted a more flexible, data-driven process to assess the current risk, assign an appropriate level of caution, and share visiting guidelines that reflect that algorithm.”
Each hospital and outpatient facility across the health system will share the current level of caution for visitation. For more details about the Level Red Visitation going into effect on Monday, visit valleyhealthlink.com/visitation
From a release.