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Hospitalized Patients See Family and Friends in Person Safely

Rochester Regional Health tracks designated visitors to reduce the potential for infection while supporting patients

An elderly man suffering from a heart condition and delirium was brought by ambulance to Rochester Regional Health at the end of June. Earlier in the pandemic, he would have been taken to a room alone and wouldn’t have been able to have visitors because of safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in New York. However, knowing how important visits from family and friends are to patients, Rochester Regional Health immediately put a process in place in Epic to safely approve two support people or visitors based on the state’s guidelines.

“Being in the hospital can be scary, and it’s heartbreaking not to have visitors, even though it’s for everyone’s safety,” said Paul Price, RN, a clinical nurse navigator at RRH. “We’re thrilled that we found a way to safely allow a small number of approved people to be there for each patient.”

When patients are admitted to RRH, they designate people who are approved to visit them in compliance with the state’s guidelines, and those people are noted in Epic. In addition to the limited number of visitors, support individuals – such as the parents of hospitalized young children – are designated separately in Epic and allowed to stay with the patient. When a designated visitor arrives for a visit, front desk staff record information such as the date, the time, and confirmation that the person was screened for COVID-19 symptoms when entering the building. They also record when the person leaves. Having the visits documented in the chart helps with contact tracing.

RRH also equips each unit with a tablet that patients can use to video call family and friends who can’t visit in person.

“Patients have been truly thankful for the ability to connect with their friends and family,” Price said.

Epic community members can read more about strategies for monitoring hospital visitors in the Managing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) With Epic documentation on the UserWeb.