Flu Prevention and Visitor Policy

(Bangor, Maine) – After monitoring influenza across the country, the CDC indicated recently that the flu is indeed widespread. In response, on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center will implement temporary precautions for patients, visitors, and staff.
 
“In the past three years, our flu precautions have been successful in decreasing the spread of flu within the facility,” says James Jarvis, MD, FAAFP, senior vice president and senior physician executive, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
 
All year long, the hospital’s two-person visitor policy protects patients and helps staff ensure there is space to provide care in a quiet, healing environment. During flu season, restrictions are enhanced and include:
  • Visitors must be 12 years or older.
  • Visitors must be free of flu-like symptoms and not have had any exposure to people with fever, cough, chills, etc.
  • If more than two visitors are waiting to see a patient, they may take a seat in the main lobby or in The Maine Café.

Family and friends are encouraged to visit only in groups of two, and to stay home if they are not feeling well. Members of the public coming to the hospital can be expected to be informed of our visitor policy and encouraged to clean their hands.
 
“Our patients have let us know they appreciate the Medical Center taking additional steps to limit visitors during flu season,” continues Dr. Jarvis. “We appreciate everyone working together to keep our hospital a place for healing.”


Why are we limiting visitation for siblings and children coming to visit?
The flu is highly contagious, and children are at higher risk for complications from influenza. Children under 12 tend to spread the virus easily as they share close social proximity with each other in school classrooms. It can easily move from child to child as they share things like toys and pencils. This will help limit the spread of the virus to vulnerable populations.


What about special circumstances and exceptions?
Exceptions to this policy may be made for patients at end of life or in hospice care, and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by a nursing manager.

Thank you for your help as we work together to prevent the spread of the flu.

Learn more about Northern Light Health's commitment to flu prevention and awareness HERE.