Cheshire Medical Center is using three visitation risk levels — red, yellow, and green — to protect patients, caregivers or visitors, and our staff and limit the spread of COVID-19. The visitation risk levels are based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community, as well as hospital conditions.
Risk levels are assessed weekly.
NOTE: An individual provider may not override or otherwise contradict these procedures
Outpatients – anyone receiving care at an outpatient visit and is not being admitted for a hospital stay. Examples: primary care visits, urgent visits, specialist visits, short procedures, lab, and diagnostic testing.
Inpatients – anyone admitted for a hospital stay in an inpatient unit. Examples: Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Inpatient Rehabilitation.
A support person whose presence is required for physical, cognitive, or other support associated with the patient's health care, and/or necessary to navigate to the appointment.
Examples of caregivers include:
- support for cognitively impaired or physically challenged patients
- transportation assistance for sedated outpatients
- a parent or guardian for patients who are minors
Family - A group of individuals with a continued legal, genetic and/or emotional relationship as defined by the patient. When the patient is not able to make their own healthcare decisions, the patient’s designated healthcare agent will be appointed. If a designated healthcare agent is not available, the surrogate decision-maker will provide guidance in defining who is “family” for the purposes of visitor policies.
Guest - A guest of the patient or family, who may or may not be a “blood relation”, “legally related by marriage”, or defined as family or caregiver as noted above.
Exceptions to caregiver and visitor allowances and restrictions
Exceptions to Caregiver, Family Presence, or Visitor - Clinically necessary or reasonable further restrictions or limitations that may be imposed by Cheshire Medical Center on a patient’s visitation rights as necessary to provide safe care to the patient and/or other patients.
GREEN Caregiver and Visitor Policy
Up to two (2) visitors (caregiver, family, or visitor/guest) may visit at the same time; the individual visitors may change during admission. If visitors do rotate, the new visitor may arrive the day after the current visitor exits the hospital (does not apply to end of life).
If the number of care partner rotations is a safety concern for the care team, they will discuss with the patient and rotations may require a visitor exception.
Emergency Department (ED)
Up to two (2) visitors (caregiver, family, or visitor/guest) or may visit at the same time. Must be 18 years of age or older.
One (1) visitor can be with the patient until the patient is taken into prep, provided there is enough space for physical distancing, at the discretion of and planned with the surgical team.
Obstetrics/Labor and Delivery
- Outpatient prenatal patients may bring one (1) adult with them to their prenatal and ultrasound visits.
- During labor and delivery, up to two (2) adult support persons, including a partner, may be present. One support person may stay throughout the hospital stay.
- Post-partum patients may bring one (1) adult with them to their appointments.
- Inpatient pediatric patients may have up to two (2) adult primary caregivers (parents or legal guardians) with them, as space permits. During hospitalization, the two (2) designated caregivers should be the same two people.
- Outpatient (ambulatory) pediatric patients are permitted one (1) adult primary caregiver per visit. We will work with our patients' parents or guardians to accommodate special circumstances, but exceptions must be approved by the appointment provider prior to arrival for the visit.
All other outpatients (ambulatory appointments, such as primary care, specialty care, diagnostic testing)
One (1) person may accompany patients to outpatient (ambulatory) appointments
Patients requiring aerosolizing procedures
No caregiver under exception, may be in the patient’s room during the procedure but they may enter once the procedure is done. Must be 18 years of age or older.
Shared Spaces (i.e. waiting rooms, café)
Caregivers and visitors may go to café to pick up food/meals and may not eat in the café due to social distancing guidelines.
Examples of compassionate exceptions may include but are not limited to:
- End of life
- Clergy visits and spiritual care needs
- When a patient is experiencing a challenging situation, such as a life-changing diagnosis, prolonged hospitalization, limited cognitive abilities, etc.
No limit to the number of visitors, at the discretion of the clinical team
Confirmed or suspected COVID-19
No visitors except for caregiver, compassionate care, pediatric patients, and patients in labor. Each exception must be reviewed and approved by the care team (Provider, RN, and administrative lead/ACS), and will be limited to two (2) or fewer concurrent visitors for compassionate care, and a parent/guardian for pediatric patients and labor. Must be 18 years of age or older.
End-of-life visit guidance for patients with COVID-19
- If you live in a home with children, older adults, grandchildren, etc., we strongly suggest you consider using technology for a Virtual Visit to avoid exposure to the virus.
- You will be asked to remove the protective equipment in a certain way so as to avoid contaminating yourself. You will be asked to wash your hands multiple times. You will be escorted directly to the main exit. To prepare for your visit, please review these recommendations from the CDC.
- You should self-quarantine for 14 days to avoid the potential for further transmission, even if you believe you have already had the virus. You should contact your health care provider if you develop any symptoms. For more information about quarantining, please review quarantine information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.
- While we do everything we reasonably can to prevent you from getting contaminated while saying good-bye to your COVID-19 positive loved one in person, there is still a chance that you could contract the virus. As noted above, safely putting on and removing protective attire takes time and attention to detail which is not necessarily easy to do when you are grief-stricken, overtired, and stressed.