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Western New York hospitals update patient visitation policies

A new patient visitation policy will take effect at ECMC starting Friday. Catholic Health's new policy begins on Saturday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's announcement on Tuesday that hospitals can resume patient visits at their discretion, Erie County Medical Center and Catholic Health released revised patient visitation policies on Wednesday. 

Kaleida Health updated its policy on Thursday.

According to New York State, hospitals across the state are required to submit their updated patient visitation information 48 hours before implementing those changes.

The following patient visitation policy will take effect at ECMC starting Friday:

ECMC says all visitors must be 18 years old or older and are required to comply with ECMC's screening checkpoint procedures. Upon arrival, visitors will be asked screening questions and their temperature will be taken. Anyone who is unable to comply will not be permitted to have an in-person visit. 

Visitors are asked to bring a mask and wear it during their visit. Anyone who does not have a mask will be provided one by ECMC. The hospital says masks can be removed to eat, but if a provider or staff member enters the room, you must put on your mask.

Visitors must also practice proper hand hygiene and maintain social distancing. While visiting, people are asked to limit time in common areas and stay in the patient's room. Visitors cannot accompany patients to tests outside of their rooms, instead visitors can get to-go orders from the cafeteria, use the restroom, or spend time in the outdoor areas. 

Only one designated inpatient visitor at a time will be allowed for the duration of a patient's stay at the ECMC inpatient units, critical care units, and emergency department. Exceptions can be made for end of life visitation where two visitors are allowed. The patient or their legal representative will determine the designated essential support person.

The visiting hours in the inpatient unit are from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The visiting hours in the critical care unit are from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Any visitors at the emergency department will also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. They are also required to wear a mask. ECMC says if your loved one is admitted to the hospital, you may accompany them to their room during inpatient visiting hours. 

Pediatric patients may have both parents as essential support persons. 

Anyone in surgery and procedure areas will be allowed one essential person to accompany them the day of the procedure. Upon check-in, the patient will be asked to provide their essential support person's contact information. However, if the patient has a surgery that requires admission outside of visitation hours, the visitor will be asked to return during visitation hours.

ECMC's outpatient clinics and services is also limiting the number of visitors. Only one essential support person will be allowed when the patient needs assistance. ECMC says scheduling of patients must be done in a manner that limits time in the waiting rooms.

All visits are by appointment only for patients in the behavioral health and acute substance abuse unit. Visitation currently remains suspended at the Terrace View Long-Term Care Facility.

And at Catholic Health, officials said they are finalizing their own plans to take effect on Saturday. According to a statement, they will include "limited visiting hours, limits on the number of visitors at one time, required facial masking, and health screenings for all visitors. The guidelines will be in place at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, and Sisters of Charity Hospital, Main St. Campus only."

Visiting hours will be from from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily for inpatients only.

Catholic Health said the plan does not include the COVID-19 treatment facility at St. Joseph Campus, the St. Joseph Post-Acute Center in Orchard Park, or the health system’s nursing homes. Those places are still not permitted to have visitors.

Kaleida Health also released their new guidelines for visitation:

  • If you are feeling ill, you are asked not to visit.  If you have been in contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you're asked not to visit the hospital. 
  • Visiting hours are 3-7 p.m. daily at Kaleida Health’s adult facilities: Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and DeGraff Memorial Hospital. Only one visitor at a time will be allowed to visit a non-COVID patient. In end-of-life cases, two visitors are allowed
  • Visiting hours are 24/7 at Oishei Children’s Hospital and for maternity patients at Millard Fillmore Suburban. Pediatric and maternity patients are allowed two designated (2) caregivers/visitors at any given time.
  • All visitors must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Visitors will be asked screening questions and have their temperature taken upon arrival.
  • Visitors will be required to wear a mask while in the hospital. 
  • Kaleida Health will supply visitors with a mask if they do not already have one. Masks should only be removed to eat or drink.
  • If a visitor refuses to wear a mask, they will be asked to leave the facility.
  • All visitors must practice physical distancing while in the facility.

You can get the complete list of guidelines on Kaleida Health's website. 

RELATED: Gov. Cuomo: Hospitals and group homes can allow visitors at their discretion

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