BRISTOL - Bristol Hospital will allow visitors for most patients for the first time in more than three months.
The new policy will go into effect Tuesday and will exclude visitors for behavioral health patients and patients who have coronavirus. For those patients, virtual visits can be set up, Bristol Health officials said.
Visiting hours at the hospital for all other patients, with the exception of those in the Emergency Department, will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Each patient can have one visitor at a time for up to an hour. The visitor must be at least 18 years old and will be screened and provided a mask that must be worn during the entirety of the visit. Visits must be limited to a patient’s room, Bristol Health officials said, adding that they can be shortened or ended if needed for any reason.
“What’s key here is the safety of our patients, our staff and our families,” said Chris Boyle, hospital spokesman.
Bristol Hospital on March 17, during the very early stages of the pandemic, enacted a policy that forbid any visitors to the hospital with the exception of maternity patients, patients seeking lab services and, at the discretion of a supervising nurse, end of life situations. The goal was to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“Families do still have the option if they want to call in and do a remote visit,” Boyle said, adding that iPads have been used to connect patients to their loved ones. “We encourage it.”
There are no set times for visitation to the hospital’s Emergency Department. These will be done at the discretion of the department’s staff.
Bristol Health officials said maternity patients are still allowed one visitor, and periop or surgery patients who have special needs or anxiety can have one visitor as well.
Speaking on the new policy that allows visits for most patients, Boyle said hospital officials will keep an eye on the outbreak and how it is affecting the state, and that changes can always be made.
“We’re always watching what’s going on,” he said. “If there’s any sort of resurgence we may have to pivot and adjust our plans. We’re hoping it doesn’t go that way.”
Boyle also added that the visitor policy that did not allow most patients to see their loved ones, despite how hard it was, was met with full cooperation by the community. He said the entire process went very “smooth” as a result.
“We’re grateful for that,” Boyle said.
“Not being able to go in and see your loved one because of COVID, everyone understands it,” he said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.