Merit Health Natchez adopts stricter visitation guidelines

Published 5:04 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020

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NATCHEZ — Merit Health Natchez recently announced the hospital is adopting more restrictive visitation guidelines as our community is experiencing an increase of COVID-19 cases.

“For the protection of our patients and care-giving teams, effective Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, the following guidelines and restrictions will be in place,” state a press release from the hospital. “We appreciate the community’s cooperation and understanding.

“We recognize visitors are an important part of a patient’s experience. At this time, however, with the increase in cases in our area, we believe the decision is in the best interest of our patients and staff.  As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to offer and assist patients with virtual visitations options.”

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Visitation Hours for Fourth and Fifth Floors are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday

  • Patients are limited to one visitor per day, and this visitor cannot switch out with another visitor at any time during the day.
  • Patients may have a support team member stay with them during the night if deemed necessary by the care team.

Visitation for ICU and Stepdown non-COVID Patients:

  • ICU Visitation Hours are 11:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m., Monday—Sunday
  • Step down Visitation Hours are 5:00 p.m.—7:00 p.m., Monday—Sunday (enter through the Emergency Entrance)
  • Patients are limited to one visitor per day, and this visitor cannot switch out with another visitor at any time during the day.
  • No visitors allowed in the Emergency Department at this time unless the patient is a minor

Exceptions to ED visitation include:

  • The ED patient is a minor
  • Patients determined by the care team to be at “end-of-life”
  • Request by hospital staff for assistance with patient

OB Patients:

  • Patients are limited to two visitors per day during the patient’s laboring stage.
  • Once the patient transitions to Postpartum, they can have one visitor, and this visitor cannot switch out with another visitor at any time during the day.

Pediatric Inpatients:

  • Pediatric patients may have two visitors, and both must be parents, guardians or caregiver.

Patients Having Outpatient Surgery:

  • One visitor may remain with the patient the entire stay.

Patients going to Medical Imaging, Lab and Other Routine Procedures

  • Please have your friend, family member, or caregiver remain in the car unless they are absolutely needed to assist you.

Exceptions to all of the above:

  • Exceptions will continue to include end-of-life and patients needing assistance with communication/behavioral care.
  • Visitors must pass our screening process, including temperature checks.
  • Visitors must have their own masks to enter the hospital and wear the mask the entire time.
  • All visitors are encouraged to remain in the patient’s room at all times.
  • All visitors must be 18 years or older.
  • Visitors arriving after 3:30 p.m. Monday — Friday and Saturday and Sunday must enter through the Emergency Department Entrance.

The surge of cases is an important reminder that everyone can take action to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Practice social distancing, wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth when you’re in public, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often. We all need to do our part.

“Our hospital remains prepared to care for all patients who need medical attention and we encourage patients experiencing a medical emergency to seek care promptly,” the press release states. “We are extremely proud of the many ways our staff and physicians have risen to the challenges presented by COVID-19. They continue to work tirelessly to care for our patients, each other and our community. Each of them deserves our endless gratitude.

“We appreciate the community’s understanding and compliance.”