Visitor Policy

New masking policy

We are safely relaxing earlier face mask standards due to our area’s drop in COVID-19 cases. In most cases, we will not require healthy people to wear masks. There will be times a face mask is required, including when you:

  • Have signs of respiratory illness (with or without fever) such as congestion, cough, runny nose, and sore throat.
  • Have been diagnosed with respiratory illness (COVID, flu, etc.)
  • Have had a known exposure to COVID (within 7 – 10 days).

We are mask-friendly and continue to offer masks at no cost in our buildings. If you would like any member of the staff who are caring for you to wear a mask, please let us know. We are happy to wear one if you ask.

Visitor & Caregiver Policy

Effective: June 2023

Our Visitor and Caregiver Policy is intended to ensure the safety of our patients, our community, and our health care workers. This policy is subject to change, reflecting the most current CDC guidelines and/or community infectious disease transmission levels.

All individuals entering the VRH buildings:

  •  Will be screened according to VRH Patient and Visitor Screening Policy.
caring hands at Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont NH
  • Visitors and Caregivers who have an infectious illness are encouraged to refrain from vistitation. If visitation is essential, then a medical mask would be required for symptomatic individuals. 
  • Must wash their hands prior to and after their visit with soap and water or hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs.
  • If a patient has a known infectious disease, Visitor/Caregiver may be asked to wear personal protective equipment.
  • Before, during, and after your visit please monitor for symptoms of COVID-19: cough, shortness of breath, fever/chills, muscle/body aches, vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell, headache, and/or sore throat.
  • Please be advised, if a waiting area becomes overcrowded in a way that would jeopardize the safety and health of others, then visitors may be asked to wait outside.

Visitors to the Inpatient Unit, Emergency Department, Surgical Services, and/or Urgent Care, should be advised of the following guidelines:

In general, patients may be accompanied by up to two (2) caregivers or visitors at a time.

Visitors under the age of 12 are discouraged from visiting unless it benefits the patient.

If you are visiting the inpatient unit, the receptionist will call that unit to alert them that a visitor is coming to the unit. Please check in with the nurses’ station prior to entering a patient’s room.

Provider Clinics and Ancillary Services allow visitors, who will be managed depending on the needs of our patients.

Please Note:

Any non-staff individuals entering the Hospital building after 5pm must enter through the Emergency Department entrance.

In all cases, we encourage visitors to refrain from visitation if they have an infection, illness, or are immunocompromised.

All hospitalized patients have the right to have individuals of their choosing visit during their stay, unless visitation interferes with the medical management, well-being, rights, or safety of others. Any disruptive individual will be asked to leave.

* Individuals unable to wear a face mask due to a disability. may request reasonable modifications according Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Valley Regional Hospital Visitation Policy

Policy Title: Visitation Policy

Policy Manual Name: Administration

Last Revised: 4/17/2023

Purpose: to provide guidelines and consistency to support visitors and caregivers with our patients

Policy Statement:

Valley Regional Hospital has established the following guidelines for visitation, recognizing the role of family members and visitors in supporting and promoting the well-being of patients, and to assist staff in their efforts to provide care in an environment of dignity, compassion, and respect.

Valley Regional Hospital promotes and supports a patient-family-community centered approach to care delivered in a context-sensitive to the importance of relationships.

Our visitor and caregiver policy is intended to ensure the safety of our patients, our community, and our healthcare workers. Our visitation policy is in accordance with our non-discrimination policy, which provides access without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, marital status, citizenship, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and/or other legally protected classification.

Policy Scope:

  1. Inpatient, Emergency Department, Surgical Services, and Urgent Care.
  2. Provider Clinics and Ancillary Services are excluded from the visitation guidelines within this policy and manage visitors/caregivers depending on the needs of the patient.

Definitions:

  • Patient Visitor—those who wish to socialize with , but are not directly involved in the care of a patient
  • Caregiver —those who are assisting and/or supporting the care of a patient. A “caregiver” is defined as a family member, friend, or other support person whose presence is required and/or helps to assist physical, cognitive, or other support (such as a driver for sedated outpatients) associated with the patient’s health care.
  • PPE-Personal Protective Equipment

Procedure:

  1. In general, patients may be accompanied by up to two (2) caregivers or visitors at a time.
    1. For surgical pediatric patients, one (1) parent/legal guardian/caregiver will be requested to remain on VRH campus throughout the pediatric patient’s stay.
    2. Children under the age of twelve (12) are discouraged from visiting unless it benefits the patient. Any child within the building is to be under the supervision of an adult at all times.
    3. For the inpatient unit, the number of caregivers or visitors can be relaxed by the clinical team, if the patient is CMO (comfort measures only).
  2. Anyone entering a VRH building will be expected to be in alignment with the Patient Visitor Masking Policy.
  3. All visitors are expected to sign in and out upon entering and leaving the organization. Visiting hours may be restricted by the patient’s personal preference.
  4. In maintaining safety for all individuals we encourage patients and visitors/caregivers to observe infection control measures:
    1. Wash your hands either with soap and water or hand sanitizer prior to and after the visit.
    2. In all cases we highly encourage visitors/caregivers to refrain from visitation if they have an infectious illness. If visitation is essential, then a medical mask would be required for any symptomatic individual.
    3. In all cases we encourage visitors/caregivers to refrain from visiting if they themselves are at high risk of contracting an illness, are immunocompromised, or live with anyone at high risk for contracting an illness.
    4. In all cases, if the patient has a known infectious disease, the visitor/caregiver will be asked to wear additional PPE when indicated based on the transmission process and state guidance.
  5. All hospitalized patients have the right to have visitors of their choice during their stay, unless visitation interferes with the well-being, rights, or safety of others, or is not medically indicated in the patient’s care.
  6. Visitors must be respectful of Valley Regional Hospital’s “Smoke-Free Environment”.
  7. Any visitor to the Inpatient Unit entering after 5 p.m. must enter through the Emergency Department (ED) entrance. The Registrar will call to alert that a visitor is coming to the patient care unit.
  8. Any visitor being disruptive may be asked to leave.
  9. If a waiting area becomes overcrowded in a way that would jeopardize the safety or health of others, then visitors may be asked to wait outside.
  10. Any portion of this policy may need to be changed quickly in the event of escalating community infectious rates, changing CDC or state guidelines, or other changing regulatory expectations.
This policy is written in accordance with NH RSA 151:21 HB 4139, which specifies that:
  1. Patients shall be entitled to designate a spouse, family member, or caregiver [VRH allows a designee by the patient], who may visit the facility while the patient is receiving care. A patient who is a minor may have a parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis visit the facility while the minor patient is receiving care.
  2. VRH may restrict visitation when:
    1. The presence of visitors would be medically or therapeutically contraindicated in the best clinical judgment of health care professionals
    2. The presence of visitors would interfere with the care of or rights of any patient
    3. Visitors are engaging in disruptive, threatening, or violent behavior toward any staff member, patient, or another visitor,
  3. Upon request, a patient or patient’s representative, if the patient is incapacitated, shall be provided the reason for denial or revocation of visitation rights.
  4. VRH may require visitors to wear personal protective equipment provided by the facility, or provided by the visitor and approved by the facility. A healthcare facility may require visitors to comply with reasonable safety protocols and rules of conduct. The healthcare facility may revoke visitation rights for failure to comply.
  5. VRH is not required to
    1. Allow a visitor to enter an operating room, isolation room, isolation unit, or other typically restricted area or to an area where the patient is receiving care or to remain present during the administration of emergency care in a critical situation.
    2. Allow visitor access beyond the rooms or units in which the patient is receiving care or beyond general common areas.
  6. VRH will post its visitation policy along with this information on its website.
  Reference(s):
  1. State Operations Manual Appendix W – Survey Protocol, Regulations and Interpretive Guidelines for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) and Swing-Beds in CAHs. (2020, February 21). Retrieved April 21, 2022, from State Operations Manual
  2. CDC recommended infection prevention and control practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Centers for Disease Control and prevention. Updated June 19, 2020. Accessed July 8, 2020. Infection Control Recommendations.
  3. NH DHHS Guiding Principles for Responsibly Resuming Health Care Services: https://www.covidguidance.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt381/files/files/inline-documents/guidance-hospitals.pdf
  4. 42 CRF 482.13(h), 483.420(a)(9) and 418.110(e): Patients have a federal right to receive visitors at any time, subject to minimal restrictions.
  5. NH Rules RSA 151:21 Chapter 304_HB 1439. An Act relative to health care facility visitation policies. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/pdf.aspx?id=37258&q=billVersion.
  Cross Reference(s):
    1. Patient and Visitor Screening During COVID-19 Pandemic Policy
    2. PPE Policy During COVID-19 Pandemic

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