SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health is announcing major changes to its hospital visitation (also referred to now as care partner) guidelines as the number of COVID-19 cases have begun to climb once again in the region.
Changes are effective today.
The health and safety of patients, families and staff members is Baystate’s top priority. Care partner visitation guidelines balance preventing the spread of COVID-19 with the needs of our patients and their loved ones. A care partner may be a relative, partner, friend, or anyone the patient chooses to have at their side during care. The number of care partners welcomed will depend on the area of the hospital and patient circumstances.
Red, yellow, green and gray tiers (also called zones) still remain in effect for visitation based on the CDC, DPH and state guidelines, but the policy details within the tiers change over time. All Baystate hospitals — Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield, Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield — have now moved back into the yellow tier as cases climb.
Hospital changes include:
• Inpatients (Non-COVID): One visitor/care partner at a time for patients who are not in the ICU, unless a designated exception applies. (previously, two care partners allowed)
• Inpatient Obstetrics (Non-COVID): Two designated care partners in room during delivery and up to two hours immediately after delivery. One care partner may stay for duration of hospital stay and come and go throughout the day. One additional care partner may visit following the general visitation guidelines with both at the bedside at any given time during visitation hours. (previously one designated care partner plus two additional support people during labor; previously two additional visitors during postpartum period)
• End of Life/Hospice (Non-Covid): Two visitors/care partners at a time; patient may also have a clergy present. (previously no restrictions on the number of people in the room)
There are no changes for non-COVID ICU patients where two visitors/care partners are allowed at a time.
Children ages 5-18 must be accompanied by an adult. Children under 5 may only visit if a designated exception applies.
Visiting hours remain from noon to 8 p.m.
For Baystate Medical Practices:
• Life-changing diagnosis: One care partner is allowed for regular patients (previously 2)
• Patients with disabilities: One care partner or support person is allowed (previously both were allowed)
There are no changes to one visitor/support person allowed and two parents/guardians at a time for patients who are children. (Previously 1 parent/guardian)
All visitors must adhere to Baystate Health infection control practices that are in effect throughout the health system: wearing facemasks at all times whether in the patient’s room or other areas of the hospital, and frequent handwashing. Visitors with a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms, will not be able to visit.
Baystate Health regularly evaluates its visitation policy in accordance with the governor, CDC, and DPH who are monitoring the constant evolution in our region which guides our updates. Visitation is at the discretion of Baystate Health. Baystate Health will continue to review the county data and CDC/DPH/State guidelines weekly to determine which tier each county will be in. To stay up to date and see exceptions for each tier, including obstetrics, go to baystatehealth.org/patients/visiting.