BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) will be restricting visitation at the hospital due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. All visitors, with some exceptions, will not be restricted from visiting patients starting Monday, December 13.
Visitor restrictions also include the health system’s practices and off-campus offices. SVMC is not the first hospital in the area to restrict visitation, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health and the University of Vermont Medical Center have also initiated restrictions this week.
Exceptions to the policy:
- 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.
Current hospital policies:
- 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 face mask.
- 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.
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 an exam and hospital rooms. Hospital leadership said the visitor policy will be constantly reassessed as the pandemic continues. SVMC is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC).