November 3, 2009
For immediate release
Community Hospitals and Hillsborough Hospital Adopt Temporary Changes to Visitor Guidelines
“Our patients remain our top priority and, in light of the recent announcement made by the Queen Elizabeth and Prince County Hospitals, we felt that it was important that we take the same precautionary steps to protect our patients, staff, physicians and volunteers from the H1N1 virus,” said Cecil Villard, Director of Community Hospitals and Continuing Care. “Adopting the same visitor guidelines will assist in our effort to ensure compliance as the message is consistent from one healthcare facility to another across Prince Edward Island.”
The five community hospitals located across Prince Edward Island include: Western Hospital in Alberton, Community Hospital in O’Leary, Stewart Memorial Hospital in Tyne Valley, Kings County Memorial Hospital in Montague and Souris Hospital.
Administration at Hillsborough Hospital, the province’s in-patient psychiatric facility, is also adopting the same visitor guidelines as other hospitals across the province effective immediately.
“It is important that we work in partnership with other healthcare facilities across the province to ensure the protection and well-being of our patients,” said Rick Adams, Executive Director of Hillsborough Hospital. “In adopting these guidelines, we will be better able to reduce the risk of patient and staff exposure to influenza-like illness while they are at our facility.”
Temporary changes to visitor guidelines include:
• No visitors under the age of 18 years;
• No more than two designated visitors per patient may visit during that patient’s stay in hospital.
Patients will be asked to identify two persons to designate as visitors during their stay in hospital. Reducing hospital visits will reduce the risk of influenza-like illness coming into the facilities. Designated visitors who are experiencing influenza-like illness – cough with or without fever, accompanied by either a sore throat, sore muscles, achy joints or extreme fatigue – are asked to refrain from visiting patients at the hospital until they are symptom-free.
Compassionate exceptions will be made to the temporary visitor guidelines on an individual patient basis and will be done in consultation with the patient and their health care team.
In addition to the temporary changes to visitor guidelines, individuals who are experiencing influenza-like illness and have scheduled appointments at a hospital should contact the facility in advance of their appointment to advise of their symptoms. In an ongoing effort to reduce the spread of influenza, staff will then make the appropriate arrangements with the individual to either reschedule their appointment to a later date or make alternative arrangements for care delivery. Individuals with scheduled hospital appointments are also reminded that, where possible, they may only bring one other person with them to the appointment. The accompanying individual must be 18 years or older as per the new temporary guidelines.
In order to relieve pressures at emergency rooms, the public is reminded that influenza assessment sites have been set up across the province to provide health services to Islanders with influenza-like illness. Persons with influenza-like illness who are also experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath should continue to seek medical attention at an emergency department. Islanders should also continue to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency department for a child if he/she has very fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish skin colour, is not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting; or has increased irritability, fever with a rash, or flu-like symptoms that improve and then return with fever and worse cough.
It is extremely important that anyone visiting the hospitals clean their hands before and after visiting a patient’s room, unit, and upon entering and leaving the facilities. Alcohol hand rinse stations are available throughout the hospitals for this purpose.