ST. LOUIS — BJC HealthCare has loosened visitor restrictions and campus guidelines that were put in place at its hospitals in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Effective Monday, the system has launched a less restrictive visitor policy that allows one visitor per patient in outpatient, inpatient and surgical settings, including medical offices and emergency rooms. There are exceptions for inpatient OB, pediatric, and end-of-life patients, where two visitors are allowed.
“We are taking a cautious and measured approach to the gradual return of visitors while maintaining infection prevention measures to protect our patients and our staff,” said Clay Dunagan, MD, BJC senior vice president and chief clinical officer, in a press release. “At the same time, we are looking ahead to identify any signals of increasing community outbreak that would call for us to reinstitute stricter restrictions again.”
Visitation is still restricted for patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, with limited exceptions.
Several guidelines are in place under the loosened restrictions:
- All visitors must still pass temperature and symptom screenings and follow universal masking requirements.
- Patients are still encouraged to come alone whenever possible or consider virtual visitors when available.
- Visitors are encouraged to limit movement throughout the buildings, practice social distancing when in public spaces, and remain at the bedside as much as possible during their visit.
- Visitors must sign in and out of inpatient units.
“This policy change represents another careful step toward balancing abundant caution and patient experience,” said Jennifer Carron, executive director and patient experience officer, BJC HealthCare. “We believe these updates advance our ability to provide much-needed support to patients in our care, while maintaining continued vigilance around infection prevention.”
For more information on visitor policies, visit BJC HealthCare's website.