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Three NYC Public Hospitals Will Ease Restrictions on Visitation for First Time After COVID-19 Crisis as Part of Two-Week State Pilot Program

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, NYC Health+ Hospitals/North Central Bronx, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island will allow visitors starting May 26

May 25, 2020

New York, NY

Three hospitals in the NYC Health + Hospitals system will be participating the New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Pilot Hospital Visitation Program intended to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by the separation of patients and their loved ones during a hospitalization. The two-week pilot is designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a safe environment for patients, families, visitors and health care workers, while permitting expanded, but still limited, visitation. Visitors will be advise to perform meticulous hand hygiene, be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the hospital.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, North Central Bronx and Coney Island hospitals will be among 20 hospitals across the state that allow visitors starting May 26. Following the two-week period, the State and the participating hospitals will evaluate the pilot and consider modifying or instituting statewide to all hospitals.

“Being in a hospital under any circumstance can feel daunting, but going without visits from your family and loved ones can add to the anxiety felt,” said Eric Wei, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals Vice President and Chief Quality Officer. “While our providers and staff offer all patients compassion, nothing can compare to the support of your loved ones. We’re looking forward to reporting positive outcomes from this visitation pilot and working with our State partners to safely ease visitation restrictions in the weeks to come.”

“While we had to limit visitation for the safety of everyone in our hospital, we understand how emotional and truly difficult it has been for both our patients and their loved ones,” said Svetlana Lipyanskaya, MPA, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. “Our comfort care teams have worked tirelessly to connect families via phone and video conference but nothing can replace being with a loved one during their health struggle. Now that the burden of COVID-19 has lessened and we are able to safely loosen restrictions, we are welcoming visitors back to the hospital. We are grateful for this pilot program which permits Coney Island to be among the first in the state to bring visitation back during this trying time.”

“We are glad to participate in this program, because we do understand how comforting it is for patients to have a visitor during a hospital stay,” says Chris Mastromano, MBA, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi and North Central Bronx. “However, we also want to do everything we possibly can to protect our patients, our staff, and our visitors.”

“During the height of the pandemic we were thankful to receive donated iPads that we used to conduct “virtual visits” with our patient’s and their families. Though we were excited to be able to leverage technology to keep our patients connected to their loved ones, no amount of technology can replace the warmth and soothing effect a familial visit can elicit in our patients,” said Cristina Contreras, MPA, MSW, Executive Director of NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx. “We are proud to have been chosen as one of the facilities to pilot the visitation policy and are eager to see the positive impact it will have on our patients.”

Participating hospitals will also ensure that:

  • Visits are limited to four hours per day per patient, unless otherwise authorized by DOH, depending on the patient’s status and condition
  • Visitors are limited to one person at a time unless at hospital’s discretion a limited number of additional persons is determined to be appropriate to allow at the bedside
  • Patients undergoing same-day procedures may be accompanied by a companion who may remain with the patient through the initial intake process and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process
  • Visitors may not be present during procedures and recovery room except for pediatrics, childbirth, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disabilities.
  • Visitors who fail to wear a face mask and other PPE will be asked to leave the facility
  • Visitors shall be denied entry if they report significant COVID-19 exposure or symptoms during the prior 14 days or have a temperature over 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Once in the facility, visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit except when directed by hospital staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedures or other procedures during which visitors are usually asked to leave
  • Health care providers should thoroughly discuss the potential risks and benefits of the visitor’s presence with the visitor and, depending upon the patient’s condition, the patient
  • The facility determines appropriate visiting hours
  • All visitors must be greater than 18 years of age except in rare exceptions as determined by the hospital.

Separate from the pilot program, NYC Health + Hospitals facilities continues to allow limited visitation to:

  • Patients in labor, delivery, and the remainder of the patients’ admission
  • Pediatric patients
  • Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary), including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia
  • Patients in immediate end-of-life situations