NYC Health + Hospitals Eases Restrictions on Hospital Visits for 1st Time Since COVID-19 Peak

“Being able to safely ease visitation restrictions across our system is an exciting milestone during this unprecedented global public health crisis,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD

Edited by: JV Staff

NYC Health + Hospitals announced last week that it will ease restrictions on visitations in all of its 11 hospitals for the first time since the COVID-19 peak, beginning on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. Visits at each of the hospitals will be limited to just one visitor at a time per patient for four hours a day. Patients in all departments of the hospitals will be allowed visitors. Visitors will be advised to perform meticulous hand hygiene, be required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and undergo symptom and temperature checks upon entering the hospital. Restrictions on visitation were implemented during the COVID-19 surge across the State to reduce the transmission of the virus.

“Being able to safely ease visitation restrictions across our system is an exciting milestone during this unprecedented global public health crisis,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Limiting visitors at all during the surge was a difficult but necessary decision we all had to make to ensure the safety of our staff, patients, and their loved ones. We’re all looking forward to safely welcoming people back and providing patients the love and support they need to heal.”

“The no visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 surge was one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this pandemic,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Eric Wei, MD, MBA. “We understand how the support of a loved one can help ease some of the anxieties common within hospitals. We’re looking forward to easing the restrictions on visitors and getting back to some normalcy in our hospitals.”

While visitation policies will vary slightly at each of the 11 hospitals a part of the City’s public health system, the following requirements will be consistent throughout in compliance with New York State requirements:

Visits are limited to no more than four hours per day per patient, unless otherwise dependent on the patient’s status and condition

Visitors are limited to one person at a time, unless otherwise authorized by the hospital, depending on the patient’s status and condition

Each facility will determine appropriate visiting hours

Total time for all visitors cannot exceed the four-hour maximum, unless otherwise authorized by the hospitals

Visitors will be required to wear face coverings at all times while inside the hospital

Visitors will be advised how to perform meticulous hand hygiene and must adhere to this procedure

Visitors will undergo a COVID-19 symptom and temperature check upon arrival

Once in the facility, visitors must remain in the patient’s room throughout the visit except when directed by hospital staff to leave during aerosol-generating procedures or other procedures during which visitors are usually asked to leave

Patients undergoing same-day procedures may be accompanied to the facility by a companion and that companion may remain with the patient through the initial intake process, and may rejoin the patient for the discharge process

Visitors may not be present during procedures and in the recovery room except for pediatrics, childbirth, and patients with an intellectual, developmental, or other cognitive disability

Health care providers should thoroughly discuss the potential risks and benefits of the visitor’s presence with the visitor and, depending upon the patient’s condition, the patient

All visitors must be greater than 18 years of age except in rare exceptions as determined by the hospital

Separate from the new visitation policies, NYC Health + Hospitals facilities will continue to allow limited visitation to the following, maintaining compliance with previous State guidance:

Patients in labor, delivery, and the remainder of the patients’ admission

Pediatric patients

Patients for whom a support person has been determined to be essential to the care of the patient (medically necessary), including patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and patients with cognitive impairments including dementia

Patients in immediate end-of-life situations

“While the health and safety of patients during this unprecedented pandemic is the highest importance, COVID-19 restrictions have been extremely difficult for families and loved ones,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I am pleased that NYC Health + Hospitals has eased visitation restrictions as the curve flattens allowing patients to have the support and comfort of those closest to them during a hospital visit at their most vulnerable times. This milestone will resume the positive benefits visitation can have on a patient’s recovery.”

“As we begin to ease restrictions City-wide, today’s announcement of all 11 hospitals easing limitations on visitations is not only encouraging, but also critical to the emotional well-being of the patient as well has their loved ones,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “During these difficult times, having direct comfort and love is crucial to the healing processes.  This indeed is wonderful and welcoming news.”

“As a pastor and a mental health professional, I know full well the heartbreak of being unable to visit, comfort, and care for a loved one who is hospitalized for COVID-19,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “The restrictions in our hospitals were absolutely necessary to stop the community spread of the virus, and the work of our frontline hospital workers has been heroic. These efforts have saved lives and paved the way to move forward with necessary precautions.  This is a major breakthrough and will ease the sadness and anxiety of those hospitalized, their loved ones, and hospital workers who daily put their hearts into their work.”

“Safely opening visitation, in a way that protects patients, visitors, and staff, is precisely the conscientious approach we need,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. This thoughtful easing of restrictions on visitation will come as a welcome relief to patients and their loved ones.”

“COVID-19 has robbed New York City families of too many heartfelt moments with loved ones,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am filled with hope that we will eradicate this virus as we see that we have made enough progress to allow for visitors at our City hospitals. Not only will this improve morale in this City, but it might even save some lives as patients are cheered up by visitors. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD for doing the work to make this possible at this stage of the fight against Covid-19.”

To make an appointment or find a doctor, please call 844-NYC-4NYC. For more information on how NYC Health + Hospitals is ensuring patient safety during care appointments, visit this site.