SVMC loosens visitor restrictions on inpatients

Visitors to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center go through a check-in process in this file photo, taken before the mask mandate went into effect.

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BENNINGTON — Beginning today, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has broadened its patient visitation policy and expanded hours for visitors, in line with Gov. Phil Scott’s lifting of COVID-related restrictions across Vermont.

Visiting hours have been expanded to 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. daily. Everyone — patients, staff, and visitors — is required to wear a mask or face covering, whether vaccinated or not. Those who do not have a mask will be given one. Masks must be worn over the mouth and nose for the entire visit, SVMC said, and those who do not comply will be asked to leave.

The numbers of visitors allowed varies by department and the age and condition of the patient, the hospital said. One visitor per adult patient is allowed in the perioperative areas — including the Operating Room, Endoscopy, and Medical Infusion — as well as imaging, lab, and practices in the Medical Office Building.

Adult patients birthing with Women’s and Children’s Services may have a birth partner for the duration of the stay and one visitor at a time. Two visitors are allowed at a time for inpatients, including those using the Emergency Department, East and West Wings, and ICU. Pediatric patients — both inpatients and outpatients, regardless of area — may have up to two visitors at a time.

There are no limits to visitors for patients at the end of life.

Everyone is required to stop at one of the check-in desks, located at the hospital’s entrances. Anyone who is not on staff 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. The check-in is necessary for the purposes of contact tracing.

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Those entering the Medical Office Building will be screened once they reach the practice they are visiting.

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 are not permitted.

Everyone is expected to sanitize their hands upon entry and exit from the building, units, and patient rooms.

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.

“This is a big step closer to providing care in the ways that we are used to and that we prefer,” said Pamela Duchene, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services. “No one knows our patients as well as their families and close friends, which makes these visitors integral to recovery and good health.”


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