Cleveland, OH (WOIO) - To help prevent the spread of the seasonal flu and H1N1, Cleveland Clinic officials are limiting hospital visitation to adults 19 and older and are asking visitors to refrain from bringing children 18 and younger to visit patients at any of its hospitals.
"We are doing everything in our power to ensure the safety of our patients, our visitors and our employees in this unique flu season," said Marc Harrison, M.D., Chief Medical Operations Officer. "We believe limiting visitors to adults only is a responsible and necessary measure we need to take to help prevent the spread of flu to our patients, visitors and employees."
Thomas Tallman, M.D., Chairman, Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, noted the increase of H1N1 in schools, limited supply of H1N1 vaccinations available and people carrying H1N1 before symptoms actually appear were the strong incentives which led to this decision.
"In addition, we're also encouraging those who do visit to only come if they are healthy," said Tallman. "We know these new visiting limitations may be a challenge for some, but we have found as we've limited visitation in certain areas already that family and friends of our patients are very supportive and understand we're only trying to do what's in the best interest of our patients."
This visitation restriction applies to the following hospitals:
- Ashtabula County Medical Center
- Cleveland Clinic (Main Campus)
- Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital
- Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation
- Euclid Hospital
- Fairview Hospital
- Hillcrest Hospital
- Huron Hospital
- Lakewood Hospital
- Lutheran Hospital
- Marymount Hospital
- Medina Hospital
- South Pointe Hospital
In addition to getting the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines, when available, there are other simple things everyone can do to prevent the spread of flu. These include covering your cough or sneeze, staying home from work or school if you are sick and washing hands frequently.
For more information on the seasonal flu or H1N1 click HERE.
During this time of increased flu activity, Parma Community General Hospital is taking proactive steps to protect the health of its patients, their families and staff by implementing a flu safety visitation policy.
Under the temporary visitation restrictions:
Visitors who have any flu-like symptoms or have been diagnosed with the flu within the past seven days will not be permitted in the hospital. An individual with flu-like symptoms should only come into the hospital if he/she is personally in need of medical treatment.
Those visiting patients being treated for influenza will be asked to wear personal protective equipment and limit their movement within the facility.
Visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted in the hospital (including the Small Wonders Maternity Unit). Only children in need of medical treatment should come to the hospital.
Patients are strongly encouraged to limit their visitors.
All visitors are requested to wash their hands before and after a patient visit, using soap and water or the alcohol gel located near each patient room.
In cases with extenuating circumstances, such as if a patient is critically or terminally ill and wishes to see family, visits will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
"The new rules are intended to help lower the risk of infection from the H1N1 virus," says Eva Szathmary, MD, Parma Hospital's director of the Division of Infectious Diseases. "Children and adolescents are more susceptible to the H1N1 virus, therefore we want to make sure we keep healthy children from getting sick and protect patients from possibly being exposed to the virus by young, infected visitors."
Patricia Ruflin, president and CEO understands that this change may inconvenience some families, but adds: "Patient safety and the safety of our visitors and staff is our first priority. Many patients have suppressed immune systems and pregnant women and newborns have been particularly susceptible, so it's important that we be proactive now and take extra precautions to protect them."
Parma Hospital reminds people to cover their coughs and sneezes and perform proper hand hygiene frequently.