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Responding to spike in COVID-19 cases, The Children’s Hospital tightens visitation policy


Published: Wednesday, June 24, 2020

OKLAHOMA CITY – OU Medicine has announced changes to The Children’s Hospital visitor policy effective today, June 24.
Hospitalized patients at The Children’s Hospital are still allowed two designated caregivers over age 18 to visit for the duration of their stay, however, starting today, only one caregiver may visit at a time.
Pediatric patients undergoing same-day surgery/procedures, those visiting the Emergency Department and those who have an appointment in an outpatient/clinic setting may have one person over the age of 18 stay with them throughout their visit.
The Children’s Hospital previously allowed two caregivers at a time per hospitalized patient as the number of COVID-19 cases in our state had shown a steady decrease. However, with the recent spike in cases, as a safety protocol the tighter visitation policy has been deemed necessary to mitigate potential exposure to and infection by the virus.
Other elements of the visitation policy at The Children’s Hospital will continue with no changes, including:
· Entry into The Children’s Hospital will be limited to three main entrance points.
· No one under age 18 may visit The Children’s Hospital except under special circumstances.
· Everyone is required to wear a mask (brought from home or provided by the hospital) at all times.
· Any visitor who screens positive for COVID-19 will not be able to visit while having symptoms.
· Everyone must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often during their visit.
· Public lobbies and dining hall seating will remain closed to promote social distancing.
“We regret having to once again restrict the number of visitors at The Children’s Hospital and we understand how stressful this is for our patients and their loved ones,” said Cameron Mantor, M.D., acting chief medical officer for OU Medicine Hospitals. “However, the current spike in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma has required us to change our policies to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect our patients, staff and visitors. We monitor the number and trend of COVID cases around-the-clock in order to be able to adapt to our policies as the situation dictates.”
“We believe these extensive safety protocols are key to the welfare of our patients and staff,” said Lynn Mitchell, M.D., chief medical officer for OU Physicians. “We continue to take all necessary precautions and are following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so that our patients will feel comfortable while visiting their doctors. Additionally, the use of telehealth technology can provide an additional measure of safety will providing the care for which OU Medicine is known.”
At OU Medical Center and OU Medical Center Edmond, essential caregivers or patient representatives are allowed on a case-by-case review based on healthcare team recommendations and approval of the hospital president.
For adult patients on palliative and hospital care, the policy will continue to allow physicians to work with families on a case-by-case basis regarding visitation.
As has been the policy, large groups of people in lobbies, waiting rooms and other public areas of the hospital will not be allowed.
“Under normal circumstances, OU Medicine welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7, and we know that in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike,” said Mantor. “We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centered organization and will do everything possible for everyone’s safety and well-being, including utilization of all available communications tools such as video calls for our patients and their loved ones to remain connected.”
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THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
At The Children’s Hospital, pediatric staff blends years of training with education, research and technology to improve the lives of children throughout the region. The obstetric emergency room at The Children’s Hospital is a regional referral center for the state, and the neonatal intensive care unit provides the highest level of newborn care in Oklahoma. Children’s is also home to the only 24/7 pediatric emergency room in Oklahoma City. With a family-centered approach to healing, Children’s offers resources from pet therapy to child life specialists who help families cope with hospitalization and illness. From advanced surgical services to general pediatrics, oncology care and more, The Children’s Hospital provides cutting-edge research and treatments through hospital-based and outpatient services. To learn more, visit oumedicine.com/childrens.

OU MEDICINE
OU Medicine — along with its academic partner, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center — is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Medicine is home to Oklahoma’s largest physician network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Medicine serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Medicine is the No. 1 ranked hospital system in Oklahoma, and its oncology program at Stephenson Cancer Center and OU Medical Center ranked in the Top 50 in the nation, in the 2019-2020 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. OU Medicine was also ranked by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in four specialties: Ophthalmology in partnership with Dean McGee Eye Institute, Colon Surgery, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. OU Medicine’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit oumedicine.com.