SVMC Opens Visitation, Expands Visitor Hours
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2022

SVMC Opens Visitation, Expands Visitor Hours

BENNINGTON, VT—February 10, 2022—Beginning Friday, February 11, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), will update its visitation policy for hospital visitors and medical practice patients as well as expand its visiting hours. The change follows a decrease in positive COVID-19 tests and the slow decline in the number of patients hospitalized with COVID.

“We track the state’s and Bennington County’s COVID-19 numbers closely, and the decline in positive COVID-19 cases supports re-opening visitation for our community,” said Pamela Duchene, PhD, APRN, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services. “We are happy to provide patients with the direct, in-person family support they need to recover.”

Visiting hours have been expanded to 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily.

Everyone—including patients, staff, and visitors—are required to wear a mask or face covering, regardless of vaccination status. Those who do not have a medical-grade surgical mask will be provided one. All masks must be worn over the mouth and nose for the entire duration of the visit. Those who do not comply will be asked to leave the premises.

The numbers of visitors allowed varies by department and the age and condition of the patient:

  • One visitor is allowed per day to adult inpatients, including those using the Emergency Department, East and West Wings, and the ICU.
  • Adult outpatients—including all patients visiting practices in the Medical Office Building, the Operating Room, Endoscopy, Medical Infusion, Imaging, and Lab—may have one visitor with them. This includes prenatal patients.
  • Pediatric patients—both inpatients and outpatients, regardless of area—may have up to two visitors per day.
  • Adult patients birthing with Women’s and Children’s Services may have a birth partner per day.
  • Patients at the end of life may have four visitors, who must remain in the patient room at all times.
  • The health system recommends minors visit the hospital or practices only to receive care, if possible. All minors visiting inpatient units need prior approval from the clinical team. All minors must be accompanied by an adult.

“The patient support visitors provide is critical,” said Thomas A. Dee, SVHC’s president and CEO. “Visitors counsel, educate, advocate, and provide compassion. They play an important role in our patient’s healing process.”

Social visits should still be conducted virtually. Both inpatients and outpatients who would benefit from social-type support should request the use of technology to bring family and friends virtually into exam and hospital rooms.

Everyone—patients, caregivers, and visitors:

  • Is required to stop at the check-in desk located at entrances in the hospital. 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. The check-in is necessary for the purposes of contact tracing.
  • Those entering the Medical Office Building will be screened once they reach the practice they are visiting.
  • Visitors with symptoms of any kind are not permitted.
  • Everyone is expected to sanitize their hands upon entry and exit from the building, units, and patient rooms.
  • 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.

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 Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. 

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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