Important Information


The new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for fully vaccinated persons against COVID-19 do not apply to healthcare settings. Visitors, regardless of their vaccination status, should wear a well-fitting cloth mask, face mask, or respirator. Please go to COVID-19 San Antonio to find information on public vaccine sites.

Purpose

Visitation guidance is designed for the health and safety of all patients and employees in the interest of limiting exposure to respiratory illness and containment of the COVID-19 virus while balancing patient needs for family support.

Procedure

Upon entry to the building, all visitors, will be screened for respiratory symptoms, exposure to COVID-19. This guidance will remain in place until further notice.

Patients of Methodist Children’s Hospital are allowed two (2) designated adult caregivers at the bedside during the patient’s hospital stay. If a parent or guardian is ill or unable to serve as a caregiver, we recommend identifying an alternative caregiver to support your child. The caregiver should be an asymptomatic adult over 18 years of age (exception a parent <18 years).

 All visitors must wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines at all times. When a hospital employee enters the patient room, everyone in the room must have their mask on.

Visitation expectations:

  • The use of alternative communication tools (tablets, phones, etc.) is encouraged for patients during this restriction of visitation.
  • The patient’s clinical team may designate a patient as “No Visitors Allowed” after discussion with the patient.
  • Exceptions to the restricted visitation guidelines may/should be considered in cases of palliative care, vulnerable patient populations, or other identified ethical circumstances:
    • All visitors must meet the visitor screening guidelines for entry into the building.
      • Patients who are at the end of life
        • Up to one visitor may accompany the patient during the end of life. In addition to the one visitor, a clergy member should also be made available upon request.
        • All visitors will be required to pass all screening guidelines
        • Duration of visitation is at the discretion of the healthcare team, and encouraged to be limited
  • Screeners should call the house supervisor each time for an exception decision. If the House Supervisor is unable to make a clear exception, escalation should move to the AOC. House supervisors should log all exceptions for awareness and future escalation decisions.

Visitor screening:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have no known close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • Have no fever
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (per the screening guidelines)
  • Wear a mask at all times, in and outside the patient room. Visitors who refuse to comply will be escorted from the facility.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines at all times. Visitors who refuse to comply will be escorted from the facility.

Visitation for patients with COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges. We value parents/guardians as partners in the care of their child. We want to make your child’s stay at Methodist Children’s Hospital as safe and comfortable as possible. However, we also have an obligation to protect our staff and other patients/visitors from being exposed to COVID-19 during their hospital stay.

We are allowing two designated caregivers to alternate staying with the child during the hospital stay. Only one caregiver will be allowed in the room at a time. If a parent or guardian is ill or unable to serve as a caregiver, we recommend identifying an alternative caregiver to support your child. The caregiver should be an asymptomatic adult over 18 years of age (exception a parent <18 years).

In order to protect our staff and other patients and their family, we are recommending the following guidelines for the caregivers of a child infected with COVID-19.

  • The designated caregiver should accompany the child from the ER to his/her private isolation room and should stay with the child during the ENTIRE hospital stay.
  • If the caregiver is a household contact, the designated caregiver should be free of COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell.
  • The caregiver WILL be required to wear a face mask when a hospital staff member is in the room. The nursing staff will provide the caregiver with a new mask daily or as needed (see illustration on proper wearing of face mask below).
  • If the caregiver needs clothing or other belongings from home, a designated, asymptomatic family member can deliver these items to the hospital. This person will NOT be allowed to enter the hospital and instead, should call the caregiver in advance AND on arrival to the valet entrance in the front of the Children’s Hospital. A hospital staff member will meet the masked family member in the valet area. The family member will place the items in a hospital belonging bag and the hospital staff member will carry the bag directly to the designated caregiver.
  • We encourage family members to remain in contact during the hospital stay using pictures, videos, FaceTime and other social media of choice.
  • COVID Visitor Attestation Form must be signed

Process for safe visitation – Follow these instructions to ensure safe visitation:

The clinical team will evaluate all requests for visitation on a case by case basis. The visitor will be contacted to review instructions prior to visitation upon approval.

Methodist Children’s Hospital may elect to set up specific visitation times, and to set limits for visitation duration. Visits should be brief, and should not impact care delivery to the patient.

Visitor screening:

  • Patients of Methodist Children’s Hospital will be allowed two (2) designated adult caregivers to alternate staying with the child during the hospital stay.  Only one caregiver will be allowed in the room at a time.
  • Visitor must be age 18 or older
  • Have no known close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (per screening guidelines)
  • A member of the clinical team will consult with the visitor about contraindications to visitation like immunocompromised status, high-risk category, etc.
  • Visitors will be notified of requirement to sign an attestation assuming risks of visitation

Visitation expectations:

  • Visitor will be provided a level one mask, and escorted to the unit or patient’s room by a facility staff member. Limit items brought into the unit and the patient’s room
  • Once the visitor is in the unit, in addition to the level one mask, provide the visitor with a face shield, and gown
    • The visitor will sign the COVID-19 Visitation Attestation
    • The visitor will have a staff member assist with putting on PPE, and perform hand hygiene
  • If possible, pause any of the patient’s AGPs. If it is not possible to pause an AGP, the visitor can visit from outside the patient’s room (via glass doors/windows), or at a distance greater than 6 feet from the patient and aerosol/droplet source.
    Patients who are not on mechanical ventilation and can tolerate doing so, will wear a mask during visitation
  • Visitors will be coached on:
    • Limiting contact with the face, mask and face shield
    • When to perform hand hygiene
    • A plan for communicating when he or she is ready to exit the room, as well as not exiting the room or removing PPE before a staff member is present
  • When the visit is over, ensure a staff member is present to coach:
    • PPE removal
    • Hand hygiene
    • Disinfection of any item brought into the patient’s room
  • Staff will escort the visitor to the hospital exit.

Circumstances may allow for specific exceptions to any visitation restrictions described on this webpage. Those circumstances include religious visitation as well as a designated support person for a patient with a disability to provide assistance with communication or other necessary components of the patient's treatment. All persons entering under an exception remain subject to appropriate infection control protocols.