New hours: Phoebe revises visitation policy

Most people will have 12 hours a day to visit at PPMH...

Phoebe visitation hours and safety concerns

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved an updated visitation policy at its board meeting on Wednesday.

It is designed to optimize family participation in the care of patients, minimize opportunities for the spread of germs and offer children a chance to visit loved ones, all while providing clinical staff a work environment most conducive to administering excellent care.

The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved an updated visitation policy at its board meeting on Wednesday. (Source: WALB)
The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved an updated visitation policy at its board meeting on Wednesday. (Source: WALB)

The primary guidelines of the new policy are:

· Visiting hours will be from 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. for those 12 and older.

· In addition to a caregiver, two visitors will be allowed in a patient’s room at a time.

· Children will be allowed to visit patients from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and during other special circumstances such as births and end-of-life care.

“We believe this revised policy is what is best for our visitors and our staff, but most importantly, it is best for our patients,” said Evelyn Olenick, DNP, Phoebe Chief Nursing Officer. “We encourage family members to play an active role in the caregiving and healing process for patients in the hospital. This policy promotes that family caregiving, provides ample opportunity for visitors to spend time with patients, and supports our staff as they work to offer the best possible care.”

The policy was developed based on input from more than 250 stakeholders.

Steven Kitchen (Source: WALB)
Steven Kitchen (Source: WALB)

“We sought opinions from a large and diverse group of people who spend a great deal of time in our hospitals,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Putney Health System Chief Operating Officer. “We discussed this issue with members of our patient and family advisory councils, hospital volunteers and members of the clergy. We also surveyed members of our medical staff, other clinical staff and our leadership council to make sure we heard a variety of viewpoints.”

During the severe flu outbreak earlier this year, Phoebe restricted visiting hours and began asking all hospital visitors to use hand sanitizer when they enter the hospital.

“We will continue to maintain hand sanitizing stations at our visitor entrances,” said Steven Kitchen, MD, Phoebe Chief Medical Officer. “This is an important part of our infection control measures. It has been well-received by visitors and staff and shows Phoebe’s commitment to doing all we can to minimize the spread of illness.”

Trying to make sure that we don’t have so many people or visitors in the hospital at one time that it’s going to cause disruption, make it difficult for people to rest, and also from an infection prevention standpoint, expose our patients to risk they don’t really need to be exposed to,
Kitchen said

The boards at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center and Phoebe Worth Medical Center will consider this policy at their next meetings. The new rules go into effect immediately in Albany.

You can now visit family and friends in the hospital during a 12-hour window from 9 a.m. until 9 pm. (Source: WALB)
You can now visit family and friends in the hospital during a 12-hour window from 9 a.m. until 9 pm. (Source: WALB)

“Our patients and visitors understand that we must enforce certain rules to ensure safe and efficient operation at our hospitals,” Austin said. “We appreciate their cooperation as we institute this new policy as part of our continual efforts to improve our service to the people of southwest Georgia.”

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