Re-opening includes hospital visitors; one allowed per patient room

Posted at 1:53 PM, May 18, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As Kentucky gradually phases back into some sense of everyday life, the state's hospitals are prepared to join by allowing visitors into patient rooms.

"We have many patients concerned about not having a support person with them," said Melissa Bennett, a VP of Patient Services for CHI Saint Joseph Health in Lexington. "They're scared, and they've been asking for this, and we believe there's a lot of patients who've been waiting for this point in order to come back and get procedures that they desperately need," Bennett continued.

Anyone arriving at a hospital to visit a patient's room will have to undergo a brief health screening and questionnaire.

"We will ask them the screening questions, signs, and symptoms, and we will check to see if they have a fever," Bennett said. Once they pass, they'd be given a mask, if they didn't present with one of their own. And if they do have a fever, a new family member would be located to take his/her place.

Bennett made it clear this policy will not apply to just anyone wanting to visit with a patient battling COVID-19.

"It's just a matter of protecting that patient and the family. If there are extenuating circumstances – end of life – we look at those on a case-by-case basis," she said. Dr. Greg Repass said the same policy would be in place at Baptist Health. How to best implement these policies isn't the only thing these hospital officials agree on.

"It's really important that we have family support. They are part of the care team," Repass said. "The patient needs their loved ones to recover. The intent of this was to safely and strategically allow family on campus to see their loved ones," he continued.

Repass also said it's incredibly helpful to the physicians when a patient's family can be present. They're able to answer or ask questions for a patient who may not be able to answer or ask for themselves.