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It’s Policy

Friday, 27 November 2009

So PC’s Grandmother took a little spill on Wednesday. You may recall that she had a titanium rod inserted about 18 mos. ago to repair a nasty spiral fracture in her femur. This fall produced a slight fracture in her pelvis. A real pain in the …..

Anyway, with the kids at the aquarium with PC and PC’s dad, I had the freedom to head over to the hospital to sit with PC’s mom and the patient.

Thanks so the current influenza pandemic, hospitals have tightened their visitation policy.

Revised Policy

As cases of flu continue to increase in (our) County and elsewhere, it is important that we take appropriate measures to maintain a healthy environment for patients and staff in our hospitals. With this in mind, we have added new restrictions to our usual patient visitation policy.

Further restricting access to our hospitals and patient floors will help limit the risks of H1N1 and seasonal flu exposure and help protect everyone on our hospital campuses.

All visitors will be screened. If visitors display symptoms of influenza-like illness, they will be asked to leave.
Children 14 and younger cannot enter the hospital unless they are patients in active treatment or have appointments. This includes lobbies, dining facilities and common areas.
Hospitalized patients are now limited to no more than four visitors per day.
Exceptions may be allowed in extraordinary situations and on a case-by-case basis.
These restrictions are in accordance with guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are similar to policies now being enforced at most hospitals in the county.

Though we understand additional restrictions on patient visitation will have some impact on you and your family, we hope you understand that our first priority must always be the health and safety of you and those in our care.

Thank you for your understanding and for helping us keep everyone safe and healthy during the flu season.

A solid policy. Cutting back on the number of visitors will most definitely lower the exposure the patients will have to potential carriers. However, the policy is dependent on the comptency of those charged to uphold it.

Witness Frume Sarah’s experience:

Security Guard: Hi. Are you here to visit someone?

FrumeSarah: Yes, I am. Room 403.

SG: A or B?

FS: It’s a private room.

SG: So is she in bed A or bed B?

FS: Um…there’s only one bed in the room. It’s a private room.

SG: So is the one bed A or B?

FS: Why don’t we call it…A.

SG (glancing at the visitor log): Sorry. She’s already had 4 visitors today. You can’t go in.

FS: How is that possible? She has only had three visitors today. I’m the fourth.

SG: Well, it says right here. You can call her on the house line.

FS: She doesn’t have a phone in her room.

SG: Well, I’m sorry but that’s the policy.

FS: I understand that is the policy. But I am down from such-and-such a county (about 90 miles north) and I am the fourth visitor she is expecting. Plus she is being discharged in about two hours.

SG: Ma’am, the log lists 4 visitors. M Frummie, W Frummie, S Frummie, and S Frummie.

FS: But there is only one “S Frummie” in the family. There must be some mistake. Would it be possible to speak with a supervisior?

SG: Sure.

Supervisor (appearing after just a few minutes later): Ma’am, we have a 4 visitor policy.

FS: Yes, and I completely understand it. However, there is mistake in this log.

Supervisor: There is no mistake. I was the one working the desk and I know how many names I wrote down.

FS: Yes, but I am wondering if you know how many people you saw. We only have one person by this name in our family.

Supervisor: Well, it seems that there are two. Our policy is 4 visitors, ma’am. That is our policy.

FS: Yes sir, I am familiar with your policy. The policy also states that decisions may be made on a case-by-case basis and so I would like to speak with your supervisor.

In the end, I was allowed to go up to the room. But with the understanding that NO OTHER EXCEPTIONS would be made.

(Which was fine given that (a) there are no other family members to visit her and (b) she really was being discharged!)

I know that all sorts of people pass by the security desk and that the security guards are following procedure. However, mistakes can be made. As was the case here. I asked to see the supervisor’s supervisor not because I was trying to get away with something or skirt policy. FrumeSarah loves policy! But I also knew that forcing the issue with the folks on the first line of defense was both pointless and frustrating for these guys. They were stuck enforcing someone else’s rules. So relieving them of the conflict ensured that they weren’t being put in a compromising position AND I would be able to speak with someone who could actually assist me.

I did, however, stop on my way out and thank the original security guard. He kept his cool and got me his supervisor, I appreciated the way that he handled things.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robyn permalink
    Friday, 27 November 2009 9:57 pm

    and you didn’t pull the “clergy” card?

  2. Saturday, 28 November 2009 3:19 pm

    Oh man, I am so impressed that you kept your cool!!

  3. Rebecca permalink
    Saturday, 28 November 2009 5:04 pm

    Ditto! You should give lessons on patience at our next GP get-together 🙂

  4. Saturday, 28 November 2009 10:33 pm

    i have exactly the same question as Robin – why not just pull the rabbi card? I’m just sayin’….

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