SVMC Restricts Visitors
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2021

SVMC Restricts Visitors

BENNINGTON, VT—December 10, 2021—In response to a sustained surge in cases of COVID-19 throughout Vermont and to mitigate the spread of the virus, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), will suspend in-person visits for hospital patients starting Monday, December 13. Visitor restrictions also include the health system’s practices and off-campus offices. Visitation at SVMC and other hospital systems has been restricted during times of increased transmission throughout the pandemic. Regional hospitals, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and University of Vermont Medical Center, have also initiated visitor restrictions this week.   

“Caring for patients during a pandemic involves making difficult choices,” said Dr. Trey Dobson, chief medical officer and a board-certified emergency medicine physician at SVMC. “As much as we appreciate families’ in-person contributions to their loved ones’ healing, restricting visitors is necessary to protect our capacity to meet our patients’ and staff needs and ensure their safety amidst an increase in cases.”

The policy has some exceptions.

  • Adult patients—including those using primary and specialty clinics, emergency, perioperative, surgical, endoscopy, or medical infusion services—who require someone for physical or cognitive support associated with the patient’s health care, may have one healthy person accompany them. In the emergency department, visitors are allowed at the discretion of the care team.
  • Patients at the end of life may have up to six 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. Prenatal appointments may be attended by both the patient and one healthy caregiver. Others, including children of expectant families, should not attend appointments.
  • Pediatric patients, regardless of area, may have two healthy primary care partners for the duration of their stay, as conditions and space allow.
  • A member of the clergy may visit upon request to the care team.

Dr. Dobson noted that the health system will reassess its visitor policy regularly and base future visitation on the region’s positive case percentage and inpatient volume.   

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 required to stop at the check-in desk located near the hospital entrance.

  • 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 especially 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.

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 svhealthcare.org.

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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