SVMC loosens visitor restrictions on inpatients

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BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is loosening visitor restrictions imposed during the pandemic, allowing some inpatients up to two visitors at a time.

Adult inpatients can have one visitor, whereas pediatric inpatients can have two, the hospital announced on Thursday.

Certain adult inpatients can also have two visitors: those nearing the end of life, as well as those who have a disability and need steady caregiving.

"We know that recovering from an illness, an injury or a surgery is a little easier when patients have the people they love nearby," said Trey Dobson, SVMC's chief medical officer. "We want to allow visitors as much as we can while keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe."

Newborns can be seen by their parents, but other relatives, including siblings, are not yet permitted to visit.

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The SVMC previously disallowed inpatients any visitors, except to pediatric patients and patients nearing the end of life, as part of an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the hospital said its visitor policy for outpatients remains unchanged.

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Adult outpatients should attend appointments alone, unless they need physical or cognitive support. Outpatients who need a caregiver — such as expectant mothers — can bring one, as long as their companion doesn't have symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

Pediatric outpatients can have one adult caregiver. People who go to the Emergency Department are likewise allowed one companion.

Everyone who enters the hospital, whether patients, caregivers or visitors, are required to check in at designated desks. They are expected to arrive wearing a face covering, which must be worn during the entire visit. Those who do not have a mask will be provided one.

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Anyone who doesn't follow the mask regulation will be asked to leave the premises, SVMC said.

Patients who are symptomatic or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be provided with a medical-grade face mask.

But caregivers and visitors with symptoms of any kind, as well as those who have had contact with someone positive for or suspected of having COVID-19, are not permitted at the hospital right now.

"SVHC has provided safe, high-quality care throughout the pandemic," said Thomas Dee, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care. "We are open and ready to provide all of our services, and we are doing so safely and as comfortably as possible."


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