OU Medicine Updates Visitation Policy

Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Effective Monday, June 1, hospitalized patients at The Children’s Hospital are allowed two designated essential caregivers over age 18 to visit for the duration of their stay.

This updated policy includes patients who are undergoing same-day surgery or procedures; those visiting the Emergency Department; and those visiting dialysis.

The Children’s Hospital previously allowed one caregiver per hospitalized patient as a safety protocol during the recent peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in our state. The one-caregiver policy will continue for patients who have an appointment at OU Children’s Physicians clinics or outpatient appointments for other needs.

Other elements of the visitation policy at The Children’s Hospital will continue with no changes, including:

  • Entry into The Children’s Hospital will be limited to three main entrance points.
  • No one under age 18 may visit The Children’s Hospital except under special circumstances.
  • Everyone is required to wear a mask (brought from home or provided by the hospital) at all times.
  • Everyone will be screened before they can enter Hospital facilities, including having their temperature taken. Anyone who screens positive will not be able to visit while having symptoms. Screening questions include whether they have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19 and whether they have experienced COVID-19 related symptoms in the last 14 days.
  • Everyone must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often during their visit.
  • Public lobbies and dining hall seating will remain closed to promote social distancing.

At OU Medical Center and OU Medical Center Edmond, essential caregivers or patient representatives will be allowed under extenuating circumstances. Essential caregivers or patient representatives are critical to achieve outcomes for patient care, in these and the following scenarios, one person will be allowed on a case by case review based on healthcare team recommendations and approval of hospital President.

One essential caregiver/patient representative will be allowed if the caregiver/patient representative meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • An essential caregiver/patient representative is defined as someone who is legally authorized to make decisions for a family member, a personal care assistant, an individual with disabilities, or is a disability service provider.
  • The patient’s care team requests the individual take part in essential caregiver training for a patient needing rehabilitation or help with cognitive needs.
  • The patient presents with cognitive impairment, disruptive behavior, behavioral health issues, altered mental status, developmental delays or safety concerns, and the caregiver is key to their care or necessary to provide a patient history.

When exceptions are granted, the essential caregiver must stay in the patient’s hospital room for the duration of the visit, and once the caregiver leaves the patient’s room, he or she must immediately leave the hospital. If the essential caregiver wishes to return to the hospital if they have left, the exception process starts over due to the caregiver’s potential for community exposure. For surgeries and procedures, the essential caregiver will be allowed to be in the facility for pre-operative education or to assist the patient in getting to surgery but will be required to stay in the patient’s room or leave the facility during the surgery.

For adult patients on palliative and hospital care, the policy will continue to allow physicians to work with families on a case-by-case basis regarding visitation.

As has been the policy, large groups of people in lobbies, waiting rooms and other public areas of the hospital will not be allowed.

“Under normal circumstances, OU Medicine welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7, and we know that in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike,” said Chuck Spicer, FACHE, President and CEO of OU Medicine, Inc. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic has required us to change our policies to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect our patients, staff and visitors. We are glad to announce that our young patients at The Children’s Hospital can now have two visitors accompanying them during their stay, and we will continue to refine the policy for our adult hospitals as the COVID-19 situation changes. We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centered organization and will do everything possible for everyone’s safety and well-being.”