Ascension St. Joseph Hospital Announce Updated Visitor Guidelines
In an effort to protect patients, physicians, staff and the community as COVID-19 continues to spread within our communities, the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital has instituted a tiered visitation policy in February based upon evidence-based practices and taking into consideration our local community’s COVID-19 prevalence, using Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Ascension data.
Ascension St. Joseph in Tawas City had primarily been operating at a Tier III visitation level which allowed one designated visitor per patient for the duration of the visit/admission. However, with an increasing community positivity rate and higher number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across Michigan, effective immediately, Ascension St. Joseph Hospital has moved to a Tier IV ‘no visitor’ policy. Our priority is to reduce the transmission risk within our sites of care.
Currently, no visitors are allowed at any Ascension Michigan care sites (excluding physician practices) except:
- One individual is allowed in the Emergency Department, Medical, Surgical, Inpatient Rehabilitation or Intensive Care units who has been appointed to make medical decisions for patients who have been deemed a legally incapacitated individual (guardian) or a support individual for patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care and safety of the patient.
- One support visitor is allowed in Labor and Delivery in addition to a midwife/doula
One visitor is allowed for outpatient surgery patients - the care team will determine where the visitor is allowed to wait.
- One visitor is allowed for outpatient radiology and lab if necessary for patient assistance.
- One parent/guardian is allowed for pediatric patients in the Emergency Department or any Pediatric Unit (including PICU, NICU, SCN).
- One parent/guardian is allowed for pediatric surgery patients (21 years and younger).
- One parent/guardian is allowed for pediatric patients at ambulatory care sites.
Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis relative to the patient’s individual needs by the management in the patient care area. These restrictions do not apply to end-of-life visitations. Religious visitations do not count towards any visitor limitations.
A visitor is defined as one person for the duration of a patient’s episode of care. Visitors must be at least 18 years old and not in a high-risk health category such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions. At this time, COVID-19 vaccination status does not impact visitation.
Visitor requirements for entry include:
- All visitors are required to complete a screening.
- Visitors must wear a hospital-issued mask (no cloth masks) and practice social distancing while in the patient room and any area of the facility. Should a visitor not have a mask, one will be provided.
- All visitors must stay in the patient room or designated area, and limit visiting other areas in the hospital.
- Visitors must sanitize their hands before and after the visit, and per hospital protocol.
These visitor guidelines are compliant with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
While we understand the importance of having the support of loved ones during a hospital visit or stay, we must continue to prioritize the health and safety of our patients and caregivers during this unprecedented pandemic. We encourage support persons to use alternate methods of communication to stay in contact with loved ones, such as phone calls, video chats or texting.
We will continue to modify our response protocols and patient visitation tiers as the needs within our community evolve.