94ºF

Central Florida hospitals restrict visitors during COVID-19 pandemic

Hospitals limiting potential spread of coronavirus

Hospitals in Central Florida are strengthening their visitor policies as a way to stop the potential spread of COVID-19. But that is forcing some people to stay away from their loved ones who are recovering from injuries or operations, as well as impacting birth plans for expecting mothers.

Elisa Rodriguez and her husband are expecting their first son next month. His due date is on April 14, but at 37 weeks pregnant Rodriguez said he could arrive at any time.

She said they hired a doula to help them come up with a birth plan to labor at home and then deliver at AdventHealth Winter Park. She said both of their families planned to be at the hospital after his birth.

But that is not happening anymore.

"It was hard. You're already in this mental mind game when you're preparing to give birth to then having to mentally change that at the last second is difficult," Rodriguez said.

Hospitals across Central Florida are not allowing visitors or restricting who they allow into their facilities to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Rodriguez said she has been checking the hospital's website daily. She found out only her husband can be with her when she's admitted. She said her doula can't be at the hospital for the birth and their families cannot visit.

"I know a lot of women are thinking of or switching to home births or birth centers because of the pandemic changes. At this point I'm not comfortable changing locations where I want to give birth," she said.

But she said her birth plan is changing. She said she's now planning to labor longer at home and she wants to leave for the hospital as late as possible.

"That way we're not there any longer than we need to be," she said.

She said although her birth plan has changed, she still wants to be surrounded by her support system and can video chat with her doula after she is admitted.

"At the end of the day, it is what it is and we all have to do what we need to do to stay safe. I totally understand those measures, so that's why I'm okay with it," Rodriguez said. "It's just weird. You always envision our family being with you at the hospital, but it will be okay as long as it's a happy, healthy birth."

Rebecca Spencer's husband is recovering after having surgery Tuesday at AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares.

She said he was admitted on Friday and the last time she saw him was on Saturday.

"Me sitting here not knowing what was going on was extremely hard yesterday," Spencer said.

She said this is his third hospital visit in as many months and she always visited him but she can’t see him in the hospital anymore due to visitor restrictions.

"I understand the reasoning behind it, so I feel it's a safety precaution trying to stop the spread, but it's hard," Spencer said.

She said she usually sits with him several hours a day at the hospital, but now she calls him and video chats with him instead. She said their family is trying to stay connected with him even with they're apart.

"It's not the same, but constantly tell him we love him and miss him," Spencer said.

The following hospital groups provided information on visitor policies during the coronavirus pandemic:

AdventHealth

Effective Monday, March 23, no visitors for socialization purposes will be allowed inside AdventHealth hospitals in Central Florida. Visitation will be continued for special circumstances, such as if the visitor is the power-of-attorney or medical decision-maker. Visitation will also be permitted in end-of-life situations. Other exceptions and additional guidelines include:

Patients under the age of 18 may be accompanied by one adult visitor (parent, legally authorized person or caregiver). No additional visitors or siblings allowed.

Obstetric patients can have one adult visitor.

Exceptions will be made for extenuating circumstances such as imminent end-of-life or unique patient needs for support.

In all circumstances, visitors who are sick will not be permitted to enter the hospital, unless they are seeking personal medical care

Orlando Health

Effective immediately, Orlando Health is suspending routine visitation in its hospitals until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to the community. The new guidelines, which were developed to enhance the health and safety of patients, visitors and care teams and to support social distancing, apply to all Orlando Health facilities.

The changes are as follows:

1. Patients will be allowed one adult visitor (18 years or older) and it must be the same visitor for the duration of the patient’s stay, unless specified otherwise.

2. All visitors will be screened and must be absent of symptoms of and exposure to the coronavirus.

3. Visitation after 9:00 pm will be suspended except at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies or during emergent situations at all other Orlando Health facilities.

4. No visitors will be allowed in rooms of a patient who is suspected of or confirmed to have COVID-19.

5. Exceptions to the guidelines include:

a. No visitors will be allowed in the Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital Behavioral Health unit.

b. Patients who are under the age of 18 may have two visitors (parents or guardians), who must remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit.

c. Visitor restrictions in the Neonatal units (NICU) will be communicated directly to parents.

d. Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.

e. Visitors may not remove any supplies or equipment from the hospital.

f. All other exceptions to these guidelines must be cleared by the administrator or leader of the specific clinical area.

Halifax Hospital

No visitors allowed with the exception of:

Patients under the age of 18 are limited to one adult visitor. No additional siblings or visitors will be allowed.

Patients in our Neonatal ICU may have one adult visitor with a Hollister arm band.

Patients in our Obstetrics unit, also allowed one visitor.

Exceptions are being made for extenuating circumstances, such as end of life or unique patient needs.

We continue to screen everyone entering any of our three hospitals.

Patients with fever and respiratory infection symptoms are placed in isolation for the protection of staff and other patients. They are seen and evaluated by a qualified medical provider and appropriate treatment is provided.

Anyone entering an isolation room will wear personal protective equipment that includes gloves, gowns, respiratory protection and eye protection.

All visitors will be screened for symptoms of the flu and possible Covid-19. Anyone with flu-like symptoms will not be allowed access.

Parrish Medical Center

To further assure a safe, healing healthcare environment for everyone, Parrish Medical Center is immediately implementing a temporary No-Visitor policy. Visitors will not be allowed except in certain situations, such as:

Hospice/End of Life

Pediatric Care (parents only)

Maternity/Labor and Delivery (one visitor)*

*Spouses/partners are limited to visitation from 9am to 5pm; strongly encouraged to stay in the room with Mom/baby until the conclusion of their visit. Spouse/partner will be re-screened upon their return.

Emergency Department (no visitors)*

*No visitors except in cases of Hospice/End of Life or Pediatric Care (parents only)

All approved visitors will undergo screening regarding their health status and whether they are at increased for exposure to COVID-19, either through travel or community contact.

Phone and video calls to patients are welcome. If you do not have a cell phone, please call PMC's main line at 321-268-6111 and an operator will transfer the call to your loved one.

Ambulatory Care/Outpatient Appointments

For outpatient appointments, only patients who need assitance will be allowed to bring an escort with them to their appointment.

Central Florida Regional Hospital

No visitors are allowed at Central Florida Regional Hospital with the following exceptions:

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per pediatric patient

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient in Labor & Delivery

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient with disabilities or impairments warranting assistance

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient in outpatient surgery

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per emergency room patient

One (1) adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient who is at or approaching end-of-life status

Osceola Regional Medical Center

Visitors not allowed in the hospital, except for the exceptions noted below. This includes external campuses, such as the Hunter's Creek ER and Millenia ER

Exceptions will be made for the following circumstances:

Patients arrived early for scheduled surgery or other procedures may enter the west Main Entrance beginning at 5:00am

Behavioral Health - Visitors allowed by appointment only

Pediatrics - 1 Adult Parent or Caregiver

NICU - 1 Adult Parent or Caregiver

Laboring Moms - 1 Visitor over 18 years of age

Health First

Due to ongoing concerns over the COVID-19 public health crisis, Health First is implementing a strict no-visitation policy for our four hospitals - Cape Canaveral Hospital, Holmes Regional Medical Center, Palm Bay Hospital and Viera Hospital. This is effective at 7 a.m. Wednesday, March 25.

Exceptions: A single visitor will be allowed under these circumstances:

Legal guardian or Power of Attorney

Obstetrical delivery: This visitor can be a partner or a doula - not both.

A minor child may have one parent visit.

A surgical or cardiac catheterization patient (on the day of procedure only)

Patients at end-of-life

Nemours

For inpatient hospital and emergency department visits

We are asking families to name one or two healthy parents/caregivers to be a patient’s approved visitor(s) for the full hospital stay. Only these people can visit. All others, including siblings, cannot come into the hospital.

We will ask health screening questions at the hospital entrance. After visitors are approved, they must wear a special wristband issued by the check-in staff.

For urgent care, outpatient, specialty and primary care visits in Delaware Valley and in Florida

Only one healthy parent or caregiver can accompany a child. Siblings and other family or friends may not be at these visits.

Ocala Health

No Visitor Policy In Effect — In this time of heightened awareness of COVID-19 exposure, we have restricted our visitor policy. No visitors will be at allowed at Ocala Regional Medical Center, West Marion Community Hospital, or our freestanding emergency departments. There are exceptions allowed pending visitors have a negative screen for COVID-19. Exceptions include:

One (1), adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient who is at or approaching “end of life” status

One (1), adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient who is living with a mental disability

One (1), adult visitor, 18 years or older, per patient who is elderly and has associated safety needs

One (1), adult visitor, 18 years or older, per surgical patient

One (1), adult visitor, 18 years or older, per emergency department patient

*If you are having a medical emergency please proceed to our Emergency Department for care.

UF Health Leesburg Hospital

To protect the health of our patients and health care providers, NO visitors are permitted in the hospital at this time except under special circumstances. No one under the age of 18 is permitted to visit in the hospital.

Rockledge Regional Medical Center

To protect our patients, visitors and health care workers we are not allowing visitors at this time. Visitor exceptions may be made on a limited case-by-case basis. All exceptions must be approved by a hospital administrator. Mothers arriving in labor will be allowed to have no more than one screened visitor for the duration of their stay. Pediatrics may also have one screened guardian.

Melbourne Regional Medical Center

To protect our patients, visitors and health care workers we are not allowing visitors at this time. Visitor exceptions may be made on a limited case-by-case basis. All exceptions must be approved by a hospital administrator.


About the Author: