Hospitals adopt visitation regs

Published 12:59 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Several hospitals throughout central Virginia, include Centra Southside Community Hospital, adopted new visitation guidelines Tuesday to prevent infection from a widespread flu outbreak that had, last week, placed hospitals in the Heart of Virginia under diversion status.

Kerry Mossler

A news release from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) cited that Centra Southside Community Hospital, Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in Emporia, VCU Health System facilities in central Virginia, Bon Secours facilities in central Virginia, HCA Virginia in Richmond, and Southside Regional Medical Center in Petersburg are among the hospitals updating their visitation guidelines.

The hospitals will be “limiting visitors in patient care areas to include only healthy adults who are 18 years or older, and no more than two adults per patient at one time,” the release cited. “The guidelines apply to visitors and do not affect children who need to be hospitalized.”

“In close collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the limitations are implemented in years when the flu is a widespread concern,” the release cited. “Signs at entryways to the health system facilities will alert the public of the limited-visitation policy.”

At approximately 8 p.m. on Jan. 22, Centra Southside Community Hospital had been among several hospitals in central Virginia that had been placed on a Code Red diversion status, which, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) Alerting and Status System website, is defined as applying to a hospital where “specific services are unavailable or are currently being utilized to maximum capacity. (Emergency Medical Services) EMS units are advised to transport to another health care facility if possible for patients needing these specific services.”

Kerry Mossler, marketing director with Centra, said all area EMS personnel had been routed through VCU Medical Center, based in Richmond, for a short time.

Mossler announced at approximately 9:30 a.m. Jan. 23 that the diversion status had been removed.

Mossler said in a statement Wednesday that the hospital has implemented the visitation guidelines “effective immediately.”

“Visitors to patient care areas are being limited to healthy adults at least 18 years old, and no more than two adults can visit a patient at a time,” Mossler said. “The flu is a very serious illness, and we want to protect our entire southside community.”