Providence operational FAQs for flu season hospital restricted visitation policy

Operational questions about the restricted visitation policy:

Q: Does this policy relate only to visitors coming to see inpatients or ED patients?
A: This policy covers any visitor to a Providence hospital building.

Q: Does the policy cover offsite clinics?
A: No.

Q: Does the policy cover outpatient areas in the hospital?
A: Yes.

Q: Does the policy cover public meeting and conference rooms in the hospital?
A: Yes.

Q: Does this policy apply to members of the public who visit the hospital to eat in the cafeteria or attend Mass in the chapel?
A: Yes. We are asking the general public not to come to our hospitals unless they are patients, or are coming in for outpatient procedures, or are visiting patients or have health-related business within the hospital building.

Q: Does this policy cover high school volunteers under the age of 18?
A: All hospital volunteers, including those under 18, should be treated as employees in this matter. If they are ill with cold or flu-like symptoms they should stay home until they have recovered. They need to follow the employee health guidelines on returning to their volunteer work.

Q: Does this policy cover those who attend our educational lectures and speaker series on topics such as cancer, MS, or heart disease that are held in our hospital conference rooms?
A: Yes. People can attend these events as long as they are not exhibiting cold and/or flu-like symptoms.

Q: Will this policy apply to any of our senior centers where children visit?
A: Only senior care centers within a hospital building are covered by this policy.

Q: Should hospitals limit or stop school field trips until further notice, or can hospitals host the students in public areas that are not adjacent to patient rooms if the students are free of cold and/or flu symptoms?
A: All school field trips should be cancelled until further notice.

Q: Should the high school educational lectures (e.g. HeartWatch, OrthoWatch) that are held in our conference rooms be cancelled until further notice?
A: Yes.

Q: Will hospital visitors be screened?
A: No. At this point we are asking visitors to make wise decisions about whether they need to be at the hospital based on our visitation policies.

Q: What does the PH&S visitation policy say?
A: Providence policy states:
  • General hospital visitors must either be members of the patient’s immediate family or at least 18 years of age.
  • Perinatal, pediatric and intensive care unit visitors must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All patients are limited to two visitors at any one time in the hospital.
  • There are exceptions for end-of-life care, and for any visitor under 18 who is the spouse, significant other or parent of a patient.
Q: How are we enforcing our new restrictions?
A: We need to be compassionate and respectful of our patients and visitors. We also need to educate them about the reasons for these changes as they are put into place.

We are asking the people of Providence – physicians, nurses, patient information specialists, administrators, employees and volunteers – to help explain the policy and assist families in complying with it.

Our goal is protecting the health and safety of our patients, employees, families, volunteers and visitors.