SVMC Further Restricts Visitors
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SVMC Further Restricts Visitors

BENNINGTON, VT—November 13, 2020—In response to a sustained surge in cases of COVID-19 throughout New England and to mitigate the spread of the virus, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), will discontinue in-person visits for hospital patients starting 7 p.m. Monday, November 16.

“While we work to meet our patients’ needs for the support of their loved ones, we also have to consider their safety and the safety of our staff,” said Pamela Duchene, APRN, PhD, SVMC’s chief nursing officer. “There is simply no safe way to allow open visitation at this time. We will resume visitation as soon as it is safe to do so. ”

The policy has some exceptions.

  • If an adult inpatient or perioperative patient (those using surgical, endoscopy, or medical infusion services) requires someone for physical or cognitive support associated with the patient’s health care, they are allowed one symptom-free person.
  • Patients at the end of life may have two visitors at a time. Others may wait in a vehicle or away from the building. Minors must be accompanied by an adult and are limited to visits of 30 minutes or less.
  • Expectant and delivered mothers are allowed one unique care partner for the duration of the stay and, if requested, one doula.
  • Pediatric inpatients may have two primary care partners for the duration of their stay, as condition and space allow.
  • A member of the clergy may visit upon request to the care team.

The policy for outpatient care has not changed since initial restrictions were implemented in early March to decrease the effects of COVID-19.

  • Adult outpatients should attend appointments alone, unless they need physical or cognitive support. Outpatients who require a caregiver may bring one, provided that person is symptom-free.
  • Prenatal appointments may be attended by both the patient and one caregiver. Others, including children of expectant families, should not attend appointments.
  • Pediatric patients in the outpatient setting may have one adult caregiver with them.
  • Visitation to the Emergency Department is limited to one individual.

Both inpatients and outpatients who would benefit from additional support during a visit or stay should request the use of technology to bring important family and friends virtually into exam and hospital rooms.

Everyone—patients, caregivers, and visitors—is required to stop at the check-in desk located near the hospital and Medical Office Building entrances.

  • All are expected to arrive wearing a mask or face covering. All masks must be worn for the entire duration of the visit. Those who do not comply will be asked to leave the premises.
  • Patients who are symptomatic or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be provided with a medical-grade facemask.
  • Caregivers and visitors with symptoms of any kind and those who have had contact with someone positive for or suspected of having COVID-19 are not permitted at this time.
  • All non-staff persons entering an SVMC building will be given a sticker marked with the date and department they are visiting and are asked to keep the sticker visible and remain in the area of service for the entire time they are in the building.
  • Everyone is expected to sanitize their hands upon entry and exit from the building, units, and patient rooms.

“SVHC is open, ready, and safe to provide care to patients,” said Duchene. “Providing care during the pandemic requires extraordinary caution. We are taking those measures to ensure our community can still get the care they need.”

Patients with cough or shortness of breath or any two of the following—fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell—should contact their primary care provider or the COVID-19 Informational Hotline at 802-440-8844 before arriving to either their provider’s office or the hospital. For a detailed list of safety protocols, frequently asked questions, visitor guidelines, and COVID-19 information, visit

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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