Flu Prevention and Visitor Policy
February 11, 2019 - Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is temporarily adjusting its visitor policy to proactively protect our patients, visitors, and staff.
- Screening all visitors at the Main Entrance for flu-like symptoms.
- Limiting visitors to two per patient at a time anywhere in the hospital.
- Establishing a minimum visitor age of 12 years old.
- Asking visitors with flu-like symptoms to wear a mask.
- Encouraging family and friends who are not well to stay home.
Each day, thousands of people entrust Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center with their care. We routinely evaluate our policies and procedures to ensure our ability to provide the safest, highest quality care to every patient. This year’s flu season is here, and we recognize additional measures are needed to proactively protect our patients, visitors, employees, and communities. Maine CDC has reported that Maine’s influenza season has not yet reached its peak and therefore, measures that limit spread and exposure will reduce fatalities in high risk populations.
What are we doing differently?
We are limiting visitors to two per patient in the building at all times and setting the minimum age of visitors and guests to age 12. Families may have to stagger visits to accommodate this new policy. We are asking visitors who have experienced flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pain, vomiting, or diarrhea in the last 48 hours to return once they have been symptom free for two days.
In addition, all visitors are asked to:
- Wear a mask if they have been exposed to someone who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
- Sanitize their hands when entering the building, often during their visit, and when leaving
- Use proper cough etiquette by covering their mouth with a tissue or the crook of an arm and immediately performing good hand hygiene.
- Limit their movement within the facility to the designated patient room and the Maine Café.
- Contact their primary care provider for further direction if they begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms.
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.
When will we return to our normal visitor procedures?
We understand the importance of family in a patient’s healing process. We have instituted this as a temporary measure only and we will return to our normal policy as soon as the risk of influenza transmission has decreased. Communication will be sent when the visitation limitation has been lifted.
What about special circumstances and exceptions?
We understand that there will be special considerations and circumstance under this policy, for example, exceptions may be made for patients on hospice care, etc. Any exemptions to this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Thank you for your help as we work together to prevent the spread of the flu. If you have any questions about this temporary change, please contact Patient Experience and Relations at 207.973.8110.
Click HERE to read our media advisory.
Learn more about Northern Light Health's committment to flu prevention and awareness HERE