OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Children’s Hospital at OU Medicine has made changes to its visitor policy due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.
The changes went into effect on Wednesday.
Hospitalized patients at The Children’s Hospital are still allowed two designated caregivers over age 18 to visit for the duration of their stay, however, starting Wednesday, only one caregiver may visit at a time.
Pediatric patients undergoing same-day surgery/procedures, those visiting the Emergency Department and those who have an appointment in an outpatient/clinic setting may have one person over the age of 18 stay with them throughout their visit.
The Children’s Hospital previously allowed two caregivers at a time per hospitalized patient as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state had shown a steady decrease. However, with the recent spike in cases, as a safety protocol the tighter visitation policy has been deemed necessary to mitigate potential exposure to and infection by the virus.
Other elements of the visitation policy at The Children’s Hospital will continue with no changes, including:
- Entry into The Children’s Hospital will be limited to three main entrance points.
- No one under age 18 may visit The Children’s Hospital except under special circumstances.
- Everyone is required to wear a mask (brought from home or provided by the hospital) at all times.
- Any visitor who screens positive for COVID-19 will not be able to visit while having symptoms.
- Everyone must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often during their visit.
- Public lobbies and dining hall seating will remain closed to promote social distancing.
“We regret having to once again restrict the number of visitors at The Children’s Hospital and we understand how stressful this is for our patients and their loved ones,” said Cameron Mantor, M.D., acting chief medical officer for OU Medicine Hospitals. “However, the current spike in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma has required us to change our policies to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect our patients, staff and visitors. We monitor the number and trend of COVID cases around-the-clock in order to be able to adapt to our policies as the situation dictates.”
“We believe these extensive safety protocols are key to the welfare of our patients and staff,” said Lynn Mitchell, M.D., chief medical officer for OU Physicians. “We continue to take all necessary precautions and are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so that our patients will feel comfortable while visiting their doctors. Additionally, the use of telehealth technology can provide an additional measure of safety will providing the care for which OU Medicine is known.”
At OU Medical Center and OU Medical Center Edmond, essential caregivers or patient representatives are allowed on a case-by-case review based on healthcare team recommendations and approval of the hospital president.
For adult patients on palliative and hospital care, the policy will continue to allow physicians to work with families on a case-by-case basis regarding visitation.
Large groups of people in lobbies, waiting rooms and other public areas of the hospital will continue to not be allowed.
“Under normal circumstances, OU Medicine welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7, and we know that in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike,” said Mantor. “We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centered organization and will do everything possible for everyone’s safety and well-being, including utilization of all available communications tools such as video calls for our patients and their loved ones to remain connected.”