Temporary visitation restrictions imposed in January due to the flu have been lifted at Sampson Regional Medical Center.
The restrictions were put in place 12 weeks ago due to widespread influenza activity reported throughout North Carolina and in the local area. With few exceptions, the mandatory visitation guidelines were hospital-wide and restricted visitors under the age of 18 or adults of any age who had fever or flu-like symptoms, including cough, sore throat or muscle or body aches.
“We appreciate the understanding, cooperation, and patience of our visitors during the last 12 weeks,” stated Amber Cava, vice president of Strategy & Business Development at Sampson Regional. “Providing the best quality of care in a safe environment for patients means protecting them and managing their exposure to contagious illnesses, such as the flu.”
While the hospital has returned to normal visitation guidelines, all visitors are still encouraged to perform good hand hygiene upon entering or exiting the facility or when coming and going from a patient’s room. Hygiene stations are located throughout the hospital, stocked with face masks, tissue and hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer pumps are also located at the entry point of every patient room.
“In addition to getting the flu shot, respiratory hygiene and hand washing are the most important steps people can take to help prevent the spread of flu,” said Wanda Holden, RN, Infection Control Coordinator for Sampson Regional.
In mid-January, visitation guidelines were put in place “in order to provide the best quality of care in a safe environment,” hospital officials said, preaching the importance of protecting patients.
“This means managing their exposure to contagious illnesses, such as the flu,” said Holden.
As a result, the hospital imposed the special measures to protect its patients, staff and visitors from spreading the flu. Individuals with flu-like symptoms were told not to visit the hospital until they are free of those symptoms for 24 hours.
Imposing visitation restrictions was one of many steps the hospital took amid the flu season. Patients with flu-like symptoms were also isolated and healthcare personnel who developed fever or flu symptoms were similarly asked not to report to work. Staff were also required to wear a mask during flu season if, for any reason, they have an acceptable reason for not receiving the annual flu vaccine, a requirement of employment at Sampson Regional.
The visitation restrictions were put in place through at least March, to be reevaluated at that time. On Monday, the hospital sent a notice stating visitation was back to normal effective immediately.
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