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Visitor Policy Changes

Note: Please be advised that unless you’re having a true medical emergency, please do not go straight to the Emergency Department. The best thing to do is to stay at home and call your primary care provider, or the Maryland Coronavirus Hotline at 211. These healthcare providers can help determine whether you need to seek additional treatment.

GBMC HealthCare COVID-19 Modified Visitation Policy – Effective March 29, 2020

Purpose: Due to the first confirmed COVID-related death in Maryland in one of our catchment communities, coupled with the quickly escalating cases related to community spread, Greater Baltimore Medical Center has reevaluated the measures within the Modified Visitation Policy and have decided to enact a comprehensive, system-wide Modified Visitation Policy beginning at 3:00 p.m. on March 20, 2020. This approach is consistent with other health institutions across the country.

Implementation of Modified Visitation Policy

Applies to all patients within the hospital, regardless of unit or condition, who are seen at GBMC.

  • In inpatient facilities and Emergency Department, VISITORS will be permitted with prior approval by patient experience administrator or designee under specific circumstances. Those specific circumstances include:
    • Two visitors for end of life care or end of life decision making (exception - no visitors for COVID positive and/or PUI patients).
    • One parent or caregiver of a child in the neonatal intensive care unit.
    • One parent or caregiver of pediatric patients as long as they are not symptomatic.
    • One visitor inclusive of a professional support person or post-partum helper of a patient in the labor & delivery and post-partum units.
    • Person serving as surrogate decision maker for a patient
    • Person in an official governmental function
    • One visitor to accompany a patient with disability as defined by the ADA as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
    • One visitor for patients undergoing emergency surgery.
    • Visitors who have been asked by the patient’s care team to be a part of scheduled family training for patients with rehabilitation needs.
    • In inpatient facilities and emergency department, VISITORS will NOT be permitted for COVID positive and/or PUI patients.
    • Family, friends and loved ones should use electronic devices and apps to keep i contact with patients whenever possible (e.g. phones, Facetime, skype, etc.).
  • For all surgical appointments:
    • Outpatient surgery patients may no longer have a visitor accompany them to the Procedural or Operating Room location. Visitors must wait in their car for the duration of the surgery.
    • Please note: with the patient’s permission, the surgeon/provider will contact a designated support person or family member after surgery to update them on the procedure and the patient’s condition.
    • When the patient is ready to be discharged, the recovery nurse will contact the primary support person to review discharge instructions. The primary support person will be instructed where to move their vehicle to meet the patient and their nurse for pick-up.
    • The same restrictions are in place for patients who will be admitted to the hospital after their surgery. The surgeon will still call a primary support person (with the patient’s permission) to review how the procedure/surgery went and share any pertinent findings. Visitors may not accompany or visit the patient at the inpatient areas.
    • For pediatric and disabled or incapacitated patients:
      • For urgent/emergent surgery cases, parents are NOT allowed to come to the operating room (OR) with the patient.
      • For elective pediatric patients age 8 or under, 1 parent may accompany the patient in the Pre-op, OR (prior to induction of anesthesia), PACU, and Phase 2 areas.
      • For elective pediatric patients ages 9-18 (and developmentally disabled adults), 1 parent may accompany the patient in the Pre-op, PACU, and Phase 2 areas. The parent may NOT accompany the patient into the OR.
      • Patients who require a Power of Attorney will have that individual as their one family member. This family member will be brought to the Pre-op bay for consent of procedure, and will then return to their vehicle.
    • Special consideration will be granted on a case-by-case basis for life-threatening or comfort care cases.
  • For all hospital outpatient appointments:
    • One visitor will be permitted to accompany a patient to facilitate care or treatment such as an ambulatory visit, procedure or emergent surgery.
    • Visitors may be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or sore throat, depending on the situation.
    • Family, friends and loved ones should use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients whenever possible. (e.g. phones, FaceTime, Skype, etc.).
  • For all GBMC Health Partners outpatient appointments:
    • No visitors permitted in order to maintain physical distancing.
    • Exception: If patient is a minor or requires a caregiver to assist during appointment, one visitor may accompany patient to appointment. Visitor will be screened for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
  • As a reminder:
    • Wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water or use alcohol-based hand gel frequently.
    • Refrain from handshakes and hugs. Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue that is then discarded.
IMPORTANT Visitor Policy Changes

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