WINCHESTER, Va. (WDVM) — Valley Health System has a new visitation policy, after restricting visitors entirely, except in certain circumstances, for the past several weeks.
The new policy is color-coded and has three different levels, green, yellow, and red. Each level marks how likely patients and caregivers are to be exposed to COVID-19 and influenza. Green is low risk, yellow is medium risk and red is high risk.
“Red being the most restrictive, but even red will always allow a partner in care. We’re making a very distinct differentiation between the presence of a partner in care and social visitation,” said Howard Green, Valley Health physician director of surgical services.
Right now, Winchester Medical Center and other Valley Health Care facilities are in the red level. That means most patients can only have one care partner visit them at a time.
“We have patients who have visitors that come for a social visit maybe checking over them after church or other things that’s a social visit but a care partner is really that one person that is helping with the care plan for the patient helping the patient make decisions about their care,” explained Theresa Trivette, a chief nurse executive with Valley Health.
Each care partner needs to follow Valley Health safety protocols when coming into the hospital like masking up. Care partners visiting covid patients will need to wear PPE.
Valley Health says the new policy was necessary to allow patients to have the support of loved ones while trying to recover.
“At this point, we recognize that the importance of changing that and bringing care partners into every room outweighed everything else and so a group got together and created a new policy to be able to bring care partners back in so that people have that person at the bedside to work with them and advocate for them,” said Dr. Nick Restrepo, who serves as the Valley Health quality and patient safety officer.