Fletcher Allen Makes Additional Changes to Inpatient Pediatric Visiting Policy in Anticipation of H1N1 Flu Season

Kim O'Leary
 and Communications

Immediate:  October 15, 2009

BURLINGTON VT - Fletcher Allen Health Care has made further changes to its visiting policy in an effort to protect both high-risk patients and its staff during the expected outbreak of H1N1 this fall.  Visiting restrictions are already in place in the Birthing Center, the Mother/Baby Unit, and intensive care units. Additional restrictions have now been applied to protect pediatric inpatients and their families.

The following restrictions now apply to those visiting pediatric inpatients:

For All Visitors to Inpatient Pediatrics:

  • Use hand hygiene:
    • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer  upon entering the  floor, AND just before and just after leaving a patient's room
  • No one under the age of 12 to visit the inpatient Pediatric unit.     
  • Only immediate family to visit, or guardians/caregivers if applicable.
  • Only two (2) immediate family members in the patient's room at one time.
  • Patients will be asked not to visit if they have symptoms of a fever and a cough or cold, or if they suspect they may have the flu.

For Visitation With Inpatient Pediatric Patients Who May Have Flu:

Additional restrictions include:

  • While in the room, visitors must wear a white mask, gown and gloves. These should be disposed of in the room.  Instructions from the nurse shall be provided BEFORE the visitor enters the room.
  • Visitors to Pediatric patients with influenza (or being tested for influenza), must minimize contact with all other people in the hospital.  They will be asked to leave the hospital immediately after visiting. This precaution protects other patients and their families.

"These extra visiting precautions are in the best interests of our patients during the flu season," said Dawn LeBaron, vice president, Hospital Services.  "Patient safety and infection control are top priorities at this institution.  We recognize that this flu season will not be like others in recent memory and we have made plans that anticipate different levels of a flu outbreak. The visiting policy changes are part of that plan and they may change as the flu season progresses." 

Fletcher Allen is also mounting a strong campaign to encourage staff to get both the seasonal flu shot and the H1N1 vaccine shot when it becomes available.  The organization will make the vaccines available to staff at no charge.

Updated flu season visitation policies are always available on our website, http://www.fletcherallen.org/

About Fletcher Allen
Fletcher Allen Health Care, together with our partners at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is Vermont's academic medical center.  Our mission is to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve by integrating patient care, education and research in a caring environment.  Fletcher Allen serves as a regional referral center -- providing advanced care to approximately one million people in Vermont and northern New York -- and as a community hospital for approximately 150,000 residents in Chittenden and Grand Isle counties.  With more than 30 patient care sites and 100 outreach clinics, programs and services throughout the region, Fletcher Allen is committed to being a national model for the delivery of high-quality academic health care for a rural region.  For more information about Fletcher Allen, visit our Web site at http://www.fletcherallen.org/.