Wayne HealthCare restricting under 14s to fight flu spread


GREENVILLE — Wayne HealthCare officials announced December 29 it will join area hospitals to implement visitation restrictions in an effort to minimize the spread of respiratory infections to hospital patients, employees and the community. Due to the local presence of the seasonal flu virus, the region’s hospitals have opted to implement precautionary measures in order for everyone’s protection.

“We respectfully ask the public to follow these new guidelines during flu season, which lasts through March 2018,” said Kim Freeman, DNP, MS, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Patient Care Services. “The seasonal restrictions include not permitting children under the age of 14 in the hospital for visitation purposes or anyone who exhibits flu or cold symptoms,” she said.

“Children are particularly likely to carry viruses since they are heavily exposed in the school setting and with the guidelines we hope to minimize exposure in the hospital,” Freeman said. The exception is if a parent is bringing a child to the hospital for tests or therapy, or to visit a doctor. There are medical necessities where treatment is important and the visitation restrictions do not apply to children or adults in need of services.

“The action of restricting visitors exhibiting respiratory symptoms, including a fever, coughing and sneezing, and children under the age of 14 is a precautionary measure,” said Freeman. “Flu season has started and hospitals want to ensure they can keep unnecessary contamination away from patients whose immune systems are compromised. It is also important to help keep nurses and other patient care employees healthy so that they can take care of the patients.”

There are also exceptions for severe circumstances. “The visitation restrictions are being implemented with the utmost sensitivity and respect to patients and their families,” Freeman explained. “Doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel will work with patients on a case-by-case basis to ensure that patients receive the support needed, especially if there is a situation where end of life may be a concern.”

Wayne HealthCare has committed resources to protect patients and employees from respiratory infections, which includes the seasonal flu virus. The hospital works closely with the Darke County Health Department and the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association on these types of health issues. For more information on flu prevention and treatment, visit www.flu.gov

Staff report

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