Due to increased influenza activity reported throughout North Carolina and in the local area, Sampson Regional Medical Center has imposed visitation restrictions until further notice. With few exceptions, the mandatory visitation guidelines are hospital-wide and restrict visitors under the age of 18 or adults of any age who have fever or flu-like symptoms.
Providing the best quality of care in a safe environment means protecting patients. “This means managing their exposure to contagious illnesses, such as the flu,” stated Wanda Holden, RN, Infection Control Coordinator for Sampson Regional Medical Center. As a result, the hospital is imposing these special measures to protect its patients, staff, and visitors from spreading the flu.
Individuals with the following indications should not visit the hospital until they are free of symptoms for 24 hours: fever or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, or muscle or body aches.
All visitors are encouraged to perform good hand hygiene upon entering or exiting the facility or when coming and going from a patient’s room. Hygiene stations are located throughout the hospital, stocked with face masks, tissue, and hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer pumps are also located at the entry point of every patient room.
“In addition to getting the flu shot, respiratory hygiene and hand washing are the most important steps people can take to help prevent the spread of flu,” said Holden.
Imposing visitation restrictions is just one of many steps the hospital is taking to protect its patients and public. Healthcare personnel who develop fever or flu symptoms are asked not to report to work. Isolation measures are in effect for patients with flu, which requires staff entering the room to wear a face mask and at times a gown and gloves. Staff are also required to wear a mask during flu season if for any reason they have an acceptable reason for not receiving the annual flu vaccine, which is a requirement of employment at Sampson Regional.
The hospital expects visitation restrictions to be in place through at least March but will reevaluate and extend depending on the volume of flu cases at that time.