July 6, 2020
The University of Vermont Health Network Porter Medical Center announced a revised Welcoming Policy for visitors this week. “At Porter Medical Center we recognize that family members/support people are valued members of the health care team who play a key role in the healing process. Back in March, in response to the ongoing response to COVID-19 in our community, we made temporary changes to our Welcoming Policy. We are now welcoming visitors in a limited fashion. Some restrictions remain in place to protect the health and well-being of our patients and families, our staff, and our community,” said PMC spokesperson Ron Hallman.
Review the most up to date COVID-19 Visitor Policy.
In an effort to balance the needs of patients and their families with the importance of staying safe, we have expanded access for visitors in many of our clinical areas and have re-opened the front visitor entrance to the hospital on a limited basis. The front hospital entrance will be staffed with a screener from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. At all other times, all hospital patients and visitors will use the emergency department entrance.
Entrances into all Porter Medical Center buildings and clinics will be restricted and each person who enters will be required to wear a mask and be screened for symptoms. If a family member/support person screens positive or is currently under quarantine, they will not be allowed to visit patients in the hospital or accompany patients to their outpatient appointment. The waiting area for Surgical Services will not be utilized at this time, the support person will be called when the procedure is done and then be escorted to the recovery area.
In all settings, patients who have a communication need (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), interpreters are welcomed as members of the care team. They are not visitors and their presence does not impact the patient’s ability to be supported by a family member.
Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/ support animals, are not allowed at this time
Inpatient and Surgical Services
Patients are permitted one consistent support person at a time. This should be the same person throughout the stay but an alternate support person is acceptable. All support persons will check in at the nursing desk and are strongly encouraged to remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit and should limit time spent in the hallway as well as maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more in all common areas. Patients in end of life care may have no more than two family members at one time without special permission. Occasionally, visits with support persons may need to be scheduled and time limited to assure room occupancy max is not exceeded.
For Pediatric patients, one consistent parent/support is strongly recommended, but both parents can be welcomed when necessary and appropriate.
Visiting hours on the Medical Surgical Unit are from 11am-7pm, 7 days a week.
Emergency Department, Express Care & Birthing Center
Patients in the Emergency Department, Express Care and the Birthing Center will be permitted one consistent family member/support person. Rotation of family members/support persons is not allowed.
Family members/support persons are not permitted to accompany patients to outpatient visits unless the patient requires support and assistance to access their appointment. One parent or support person may accompany pediatric patients. Patients who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as a family member to listen, participate in the discussion, etc.) are encouraged to include support people via phone or other technology.
Residents at Helen Porter may have one or two approved visitors without substitution or rotation and all visits must be scheduled in advance by calling Helen Porter’s designated visitation line: 802-385-3661.Visits are limited to designated outdoor spaces, will be limited to 30 minutes, and supervised by Helen Porter staff.
“As with all policies related to COVID-19, Porter Medical Center will continue to review and adjust the welcoming policy to ensure the safest environment for patients, families and staff, and may revert to more restrictive policies as needed dependent on the status of the pandemic in our region” Hallman said.