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COVID-19 Visitor Policy

Relaxed Visitation Policy to Take Effect Monday, April 11

As we continue to see a regional decline in positive COVID-19 cases, HCA Florida Fort Walton-Destin Hospital is revising its visitation policy, effective April 11, to reflect pre-pandemic guidelines.

As a reminder, those specific visitation policies are as follows:

Main Hospital:

  • Two visitors per patient (except COVID-19 patients) will now be permitted during visitor hours: 6:00am - 8:30pm.
  • Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times
  • After hours, all entrances will be secured from entry and visitors will need to enter the facility through the emergency department, where emergency room staff will call the unit they are going to visit to obtain permission, the visitor will sign the log book and be issued a visitor pass

Dialysis Units:

  • Visitors will wait outside the treatment area while a patient is starting or stopping dialysis treatment (to minimize risk of infection to the patient)
  • One visitor per patient will be allowed and staff may ask visitors to leave at any time (e.g. if the patient experiences a serious event)

PACU:

  • In general, visitation with PACU patients will be deferred until the patient has achieved discharge criteria for Phase I recovery and is transferred to the floor/unit/outpatient
  • Under special circumstances, visitation with patients while in phase I recovery may be considered, but are not limited, to these circumstances:
    • Children, when the only person who can comfort them is a parent or support person
    • Handicapped individuals who relate to a specific caregiver
    • Elderly family members so that they may see their loved one before they need to leave
    • When a patient is being transferred to another facility
  • Documentation of contacts and visitation will be documented by the nurse
  • Cordless phones are available for patients and families to utilize when "in person" visitation is not possible
  • It is not advisable to have visitors in PACU under the following circumstances:
    • When a new patient is arriving from the Operating Room
    • Whenever a visual barrier (curtains) cannot be provided between the visitor and the other patients
    • Whenever the census or acuity requires the attention of all nurses present and there is not a nurse available who can supervise the visitor

Women's and Children's Care:

  • Significant others, siblings and grandparents are welcome anytime during general hospital visiting hours
  • After 9:00pm, all visitors will be required to enter the hospital through the emergency room entrance and obtain a visitor pass
  • After 9:00pm, any visitor planning to stay on the unit in a designated waiting area will be required to go to the emergency room and obtain a visitor pass
  • All visitors must be over the age of twelve 12 and healthy
  • Children under 12 are NOT allowed on the unit, unless they are a sibling of the newborn
  • Siblings under the age of 18 will not be allowed to stay overnight
  • A spouse or significant other may remain with patient 24 hours a day
  • The accompanying support person (spouse, significant other, designated person) and two additional visitors may visit during hospital visiting hours
  • Visitors are to remain in the patient's room or in the designated waiting areas; they may not wait in the hallways

Labor and Delivery:

  • Prior to entering the labor and delivery unit, visitors should receive permission from the L&D staff
  • Two people (spouse, significant other, designated other) may accompany mother during labor and delivery

NICU:

  • NICU has open visiting hours
  • Only two visitors at a time will be allowed at the bedside
  • One of the two individuals who were banded in L&D must accompany the other designated visitor, except in special situations, such as a transfer to the NICU from another facility; the director or the nurse manager must approve any exceptions
  • Siblings will not be allowed to visit in the NICU
  • Visitation in any area of the unit may be limited at the discretion of staff

Critical Care:

  • Guests are welcome to visit the patient at any time
  • Guests are asked to discuss any possible visits by children with the patient's physician prior to them visiting
  • The unit may need to limit visitation to only two support persons at a time in order to allow the patient and other patients a chance to rest (FWDH will exercise best clinical judgment in determining when visitation is, and is not, appropriate while the patient is in ICU or CVCIU)

Behavioral Health:

  • Visiting Hours are:
    • 1 South: 6:00pm-7:00pm Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
    • 1 North: 6:00pm-7:00pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday

Rehabilitation Unit (inpatient):

  • Visiting hours are: from 8:00am-8:00pm
  • Special consideration will be given to patient's scheduled therapy times
  • Staff may ask visitors to leave any time if visitation is interfering with treatment
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times
  • After hours, the main entrance will be secured from entry and visitors will need to enter the facility through the HCA Florida Destin Emergency care center where staff will call the unit and obtain permission

Please note, visitors may be denied access if they present with potential COVID-19 symptoms or have other risks as identified by CDC guidelines.

The safety of our colleagues, patients and visitors remains our priority. Thank you for your continued hard work and vigilance.

Circumstances may allow for specific exceptions to any visitation restrictions described on this webpage. Those circumstances include religious visitation as well as a designated support person for a patient with a disability to provide assistance with communication or other necessary components of the patient's treatment. All persons entering under an exception remain subject to appropriate infection control protocols.

  • A patient may designate a visitor who is a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual as an essential caregiver.
  • The facility will allow in-person visitation by the essential caregiver for at least 2 hours daily in addition to any other visitation authorized by the provider.
  • The facility visitation policies and procedures, will allow in-person visitation in all of the following circumstances, unless the patient objects:
    • End-of-life situations.
    • A patient who was living with family before being admitted to the provider’s care is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
    • The patient is making one or more major medical decisions.
    • A patient is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
    • A patient needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
    • A patient who used to talk and interact with others is seldom speaking.
    • For hospitals, childbirth, including labor and delivery.
    • Pediatric patients.
    • The policies and procedures may require a visitor to agree in writing, to follow the facility’s policies and procedures. A facility may suspend inperson visitation of a specific visitor, if the visitor violates the facility’s policies and procedures.

If you or your loved one have been met with resistance from a hospital when attempting to visit with loved ones, you may file a complaint with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for further review and action.

References

  • The Joint Commission Comprehensive Accreditation Manual for Hospitals – RI.01.01.01
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid §482.13 (h) (1-4)
  • F.S. 408.8235 – No Patient Left Alone Act
  • The Florida Mental Health Act; Baker Act
  • CDC Guidelines for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings