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Visiting Information

The health and safety of Augusta Health's patients and team members are our top priorities. We continue to update visitation guidelines based on the needs of our community. Augusta Health is operating under Restricted Visitation.

These Guidelines are designed to protect our patients and staff during the COVID pandemic in our area. The need for hospital services is very high and our community is experiencing a surge in COVID infections.

GENERAL RULES

These Guidelines cover all inpatient and outpatient settings, including the ED, in the hospital. They do not include AMG Urgent Care or offices. Special ED rules below.

All non-COVID patients admitted to Augusta Health Hospital are entitled to be accompanied by either:

  1. A visitor; or
  2. A designated support person ("Support Person") (for persons with disabilities, see below)

Visitors and Support Persons must check in at the Main Entrance or the Emergency Department of the Hospital.

DAYTIME VISITATION

All non-COVID patients admitted to Augusta Health Hospital are permitted to have one visitor at a time from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

EXTENDED VISITATION HOURS

  • Pediatric (under 18) Patients: One parent/guardian may visit at a time at any time
  • Patients at the End of Life: One adult visitor at a time may be allowed to visit at any time. Two visitors are allowed if making end of life decisions and meeting with providers.
  • Labor & Delivery: One visitor or Support Person will be allowed at any time.
  • Patients Needing Extensive Teaching or Making Critical Care Planning Decisions: One visitor or Support Person may be present during this teaching or planning encounter.
  • Adults with High Illness Acuity or High Emotional Need: At the discretion of the front-line care team, one adult visitor at a time may be allowed to visit for the duration of the admission.
  • Clergy: One member of the clergy is permitted to visit at patient request at any time.

PATIENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Patients with disabilities may name one Support Person to provide support and assistance to the patient twenty-four (24) hours a day during the patient's admission. For inpatient admissions over 24 hours, the patient may also name alternative Support Persons, who may substitute for the first Support Person as needed. No more than one Support Person may be with the patient at a time. Support persons must be over the age of 18, and must remain with the patient at all times.

HEALTH AND SAFETY RULES

All visitors and support persons:

  • Must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms each visit and be symptom-free before entering the facility. No COVID-positive visitors or Support Persons are allowed.
  • Wear a mask before entering the facility and for the duration of the visit.
  • Perform hand hygiene at entry and when leaving or entering a patient's room.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Limit traffic to and from a patient's room, as well as within the facility.
  • Adhere to all Isolation Precautions.

SPECIAL EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT RULES

Due to the need to prevent the possible transmission of COVID and assure the safety of patients waiting to be seen in the Emergency Department, persons accompanying patients may be asked to wait in their vehicles while the patient is being assessed and assigned to a room.

  • Anyone accompanying the patient should:
    • Give their name to the officer at the Security Desk
    • Indicate whether they should be considered a visitor or a Support Person (described below); and
    • Provide a cell phone number, if possible, so they can be contacted when the patient has been assigned a room.
  • Once the patient has been assigned to an Emergency Department room, the rules described in this Guideline regarding visitation and Support Persons will apply.
  • A visitor or Support Person may then be allowed to accompany the patient, depending on the application of the other rules in this Guideline.
  • The visitor or Support Person must remain in the room with the patient for the duration of the patient's visit. If the visitor or Support Person needs to go to the restroom or leave briefly for any reason, they will be allowed back into the patient's room.
  • No visitor or Support Person is allowed to substitute another visitor or Support Person while the patient is in the Emergency Department unless the patient's stay goes beyond 24 hours. In that case, a patient with a disability may substitute an alternate Support Person once per day.
  • Clinical staff may allow a visitor to stay in the waiting area with a patient if, in the sole judgment of the staff, the visitor's presence will assist the staff to assure the best care possible for the patient.
  • If a patient tests positive for COVID, the patient's visitor or Support Person should remain in the room with the patient until the patient is discharged or admitted to the hospital.

OTHER VISITATION REQUESTS

Front-line staff may discuss any visitation requests related to unique patient circumstances with their supervisor. Family members or visitors may reach out to the Family Liaison with any questions at (540) 332-4569.

DEFINITIONS

A "Designated Support Person", referred to in this Policy as a Support Person, is a person who is 18 years old or older and designated by a person with a disability or their representative to provide support and assistance necessary due to the specifics of the person's disability at any time during which health care services are provided. Support may include physical assistance, emotional support, assistance with communication, decision-making, or other support necessary to afford meaningful access to information and an equal opportunity to benefit from the treatment. See VA Code Sec. 32.1-137.08(A).

A "Person with a disability" is defined as a person who, prior to admission to a medical care facility, had a physical, sensory, mental or emotional impairment that substantially limits one or more activities of daily living or has a record of such impairment. See VA Code Sec. 32.1-137.08(A).