BJC HealthCare is committed to the health and safety of our patients, families and community. We recognize the role loved ones play in the healing process and are committed to providing our patients with an environment that is both warm and supportive, and safely designed to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Patients are encouraged to have Virtual Visitors through phone calls, FaceTime and other virtual methods. In cases where patients are unable to do so on their own, the care team will help facilitate virtual visits through the BJC Virtual Visitor Program.
Until the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly reduced, a limited visitor policy is in place.
Visitor policy allowances
- Children younger than age 16 will not be permitted except under extraordinary circumstances.
- Emergency Department patients may have 1 designated visitor.
- Inpatients may have 1 designated visitor per day during specified visitor hours; designated person can change day to day.
- Outpatient, surgical, procedural patients may have 1 dedicated visitor in the waiting room.
- Patients with clinical appointments may have 1 support person/caregiver who can participate in exam room questions and care.
- Obstetrics patients may have 2 designated visitors in both the ambulatory or inpatient setting; visitors must be the same throughout the duration of the stay.
- Pediatrics patients may have 2 designated visitors; compassionate care exceptions for siblings may apply; must be the same visitors through the duration of the stay. For purposes of visitation, pediatric patients are defined as patients under 21.
- Nursery and Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have 2 designated visitors; must be the same visitor through the duration of the stay.
- Confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients may have no visitors except for compassionate care and medical necessity (see below); must be the same visitor throughout the duration of the stay except at end of life.
- End of life patients may have 2 visitors at the bedside at a time; visitors may switch out throughout the day for as long as the clinical team deems that is safe and feasible.
Each BJC facility shall appoint someone in a formal leadership position to evaluate requests from the clinical care teams for additional exceptions to these visitor restrictions.
Compassionate care and medical necessity exceptions for COVID-19 suspected or confirmed patients
- Obstetric patients may have 2 designated visitors; visitors must be the same for the duration of the stay
- Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have two designated visitors,who must remain in the patient room for the duration of the visit.
- Patients who are at end-of-life may have two visitors at the bedside at a time. Visitors may switch out throughout the day, for as long as the clinical team deems that it is safe and feasible.
- Patients who require complicated patient or caregiver education prior to discharge may have one designated visitor attend the discharge education session if education cannot be provided through any other mechanisms.
- Pediatric patients may have two designated visitors on the inpatient units. For the purposes of visitation, pediatric patients are defined as patients under 21 years of age.
- Patients with behavioral health, developmental delays or altered mental status, or physical dependencies or limitations, for whom a family member or caregiver is integral to their care or safety, may have one visitor. Altered mental status resulting from medication-induced sedation in an intensive care unit setting is not included in this exception.
Visitors will not be permitted if:
- They have signs or symptoms of acute illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, sudden loss of taste and/or smell, sore throat, body aches, diarrhea or vomiting).
- They have had recent contact (<14 days) with someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
- They have tested positive for COVID-19 within last 14 days.
- They are not willing to comply with the masking policy.
Expectations for Visitors
- Undergo symptom screening upon building (or department) entry.
- Wear a mask upon building entry and while inside the facility. (Visitors meeting exceptions for COVID-19/PUI patients must wear additional PPE – gowns, gloves, eye protection.)
- Remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit, with temporary exceptions to visit the cafeteria, chapel, restroom, etc., provided they return directly to the patient’s room.
- Notify the care team upon arrival to and from the unit.
- Leave the room during nasopharyngeal (NP) specimen collection or aerosol-generating procedures.
- Perform hand hygiene at point of wellness screening and upon entry/exit of the patient’s room.
- Notify the clinical care team if signs or symptoms of illness develop during visit.
- Adhere to facility visiting hours.
Home Care Services
Guidance for staff and patients for areas with an order to remain at home
- During stay at home and “shelter in place” orders, we may experience an increasing number of family members and visitors in our patients’ homes. Prior to visits, please instruct patients and families on the need for social distancing, limiting non-essential visitors in the home, and promoting good hand washing.
- Social distancing protects our patients and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens the risk of coming into contact with droplets containing COVID-19.
- We also have our standard PPE & precautions, equipment cleaning practices, and use of barriers in the home that accompany this updated guidance.