Red Level of Visitation

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

Helpful Terms

Patients

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.

Caregivers

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

Visitors

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.

RED Caregiver and Visitor Policy

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.

In-patient Units

No visitors except for caregiver and compassionate care exception. Must be 18 years of age or older.

Emergency Department (ED)

No visitors except for caregiver and compassionate care exception. Must be 18 years of age or older.

Surgical Services

No visitors except for caregiver - at the discretion of and planned with the surgical team. Must be 18 years of age or older.

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 (1) support person may stay throughout the hospital stay.
  • Post-partum patients may bring one (1) adult with them to their appointments.

Pediatrics

  • 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)

No visitors except for caregiver. Must be 18 years of age or older.

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 allowed inside the Medical Center within this policy may go to café to pick up food/meals and may not eat in the café.

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.

Compassionate care

Care teams will assess whether they can offer compassionate exceptions when appropriate. 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 more than two (2) visitors allowed at one time, and as directed by the care team.

Patients at the end of life

  • Patients at the end of life are defined as patients who are expected to die, as determined by the attending physician of record; patients who are designated as "Comfort Measures Only" (CMO).
  • No more than two (2) visitors allowed at one time. Local nursing leadership will determine visitation for patients at end of life, as conditions allow.
  • Inpatient staff can facilitate secure virtual visits for additional requests. 
  • For a patient who is to be discharged home with hospice care, visits should be postponed or planned to the home setting whenever possible.

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 a 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.