RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Local hospitals are changing their visitation policies because of the flu.
The specific regulations haven’t been printed yet, but hospital visitors can expect to be greeted with signs whenever they enter any of the 17 partners of the Central Virginia Healthcare Coalition. And with flu season in the Commonwealth just hitting its peak, don’t expect this policy to go away anytime soon.
“It says you need to be healthy and over the age of 18 to see patients within the facility and an adult,” Robin Manke with VCU Health explained. “If they’re not being seen, if they’re coming to visit someone and they’re sick, we prefer they not come.”
The change will only allow two visitors at a time to see a patient.
“When you have an environment where you already have sick individuals you’re bringing in other people to see them it’s very easy to transmit the flu or anything else at this time.”
There are, however, a few exceptions …
“We’re not going to keep people out who are coming to see their siblings, who have just had a new baby,” Manke said.
This isn’t the first flu season for the adjustment policy; the same rules were applied in 2009, 2013 and 2014.
And a recent surge of flu cases within the health system prompted the advisory.
“Our emergency department over the last three weeks had a record day one of those days and we have seen a pretty big percentage of our patients coming in with those influenza-like illnesses and many of them being positive for the flu,” Manke added.
While the new policy is in place for the foreseeable future, hospitals will work with patients so they feel comfortable during their stay.
“We want to respect our patients’ emotional needs and needing and wanting their family here,” Manke said.
VCU Health anticipates the visitation policy change to remain in effect for at least the next six weeks.