A Message to our Community about Masking and Visitation
Masking required in Puget Sound facilities
Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 5 all Providence Swedish hospital and clinic locations will require patients, visitors and caregivers to wear face masks in areas where patient care is administered.
With respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza and COVID-19 infection rates on the rise, Providence Swedish, along with other health care facilities throughout Puget Sound, is prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of patients, caregivers and visitors by requiring everyone to wear masks in patient care areas throughout our hospitals and clinics. This includes locations where there are high volumes of high-risk and immunocompromised patients, such as the Emergency Department and waiting rooms for people receiving cancer treatments, organ donations, etc.
Masks REQUIRED for all patient interactions, including:
- Hospital inpatient units, including hallways
- Nursing stations
- Clinical exam rooms
- Registrations/Front desks/check-in
- During any direct patient care
- All Providence Swedish clinic locations
- Emergency departments and ED waiting rooms
- Oncology/cancer waiting rooms
- Urgent care clinics
Masks are NOT REQUIRED in public spaces:
- Rooms isolated away from patient-care spaces
- Public hallways
- Waiting rooms (clinics & departments)
- Gift shops
There are some exceptions:
If a patient has viral respiratory symptoms, masking is required in all areas. These symptoms include:
- Muscle/body pain
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Runny nose/congestion
If a patient is immunocompromised, or otherwise at risk, masking is required. Examples include:
- Active cancer treatment
- Hematologic malignancy
- Recipients of solid organ transplant
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Prolonged use of medications that suppress the immune system
- People born with immunodeficiencies
If a patient is on standard or transmission-based precautions, masking is required.
If a patient chooses to voluntarily mask, Providence caregivers will also don a mask.
Thank you for your cooperation and for choosing Providence for your care.
It remains STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to use a mask and physical distancing even where not required throughout our health care facilities.
Visitation is open 7 a.m. – 10 p.m., seven days a week
Providence Regional Medical Center has adjusted our visitor policy to keep our patients, visitors, and caregivers safe – while supporting our patients and their families. We continue to monitor the COVID cases in our community and in the hospital and will adjust our visitor policy accordingly.
We understand the importance of seeing loved ones while they are receiving care and know the value visitors bring to our patients. We appreciate your help in keeping our patients, visitors, and caregivers safe. Thank you.
Our current Puget Sound visitor policy for acute care and outpatient clinic locations is as follows:
- Visitors are permitted, provided they pass entry control self-screening (negative symptoms, no recent exposure, appropriate masking) and abide by the guidelines for patient supporters.
- Visitation to COVID patients is limited to two essential caretakers at a time. "Essential caretaker" is defined as an individual required to support the care of a patient(s), physical, psychological and emotional support, which may include – but is not limited to – support given to patients with altered mental status or developmental delay, dementia disabilities requiring assistance with ambulation/communication, language barriers without ability to access an interpreter, hearing/vision impairment, antepartum/postpartum mothers with long length of stay, siblings needed for patient bonding, debilitating anxiety or psychosocial trauma.
In addition, for acute care and outpatient clinics:
For acute care:
- Patient supporters for persons diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19 are not allowed unless approved on a limited case-by-case basis. (Refer to COVID-19-specific guidelines below).
For outpatient clinics:
- Patient supporters for persons diagnosed with, or under investigation for, COVID-19 are allowed to accompany patients to the physician visit.
- For outpatient clinics, siblings of pediatric patients remain restricted, unless they have an appointment. If parents have limited resources or options for childcare, they may work with the provider or clinic to determine if an exception may be granted.
Information for patient supporters:
- A patient supporter is someone who accompanies a patient to aid in their recovery and healing. This may be a friend or relative. Patient supporters should be aware that any close contact could spread COVID-19 to your loved one, even before you feel sick. Please do not hug, kiss, or share food or drink with your loved one as this could be very dangerous and even deadly to the person you are here to support.
- Patient supporters are not permitted for hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Visitation for patient supporter will only be approved on a case-by-case basis by the direct care nurse, nurse manager or senior campus administrator.
Guidelines for patient supporters:
Additionally, clinics may have visitor policies that supplement these COVID guidelines and departments may have rules that are more restrictive. Please check with your care team for specific guidelines related to visitation.
- COVID-19 vaccination is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all patient supporters entering our health care facilities. Note that COVID-19 vaccination status does not change exception criteria.
- Pass entry control self-screening for COVID-19, be free of any fever or COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24 hours and have no known exposures to COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
- Practice hand hygiene with provided hand sanitizer. Anyone wearing medical gloves at entries must remove the gloves, keep them off while inside the facility, and practice hand hygiene.
- Use designated public restrooms. Do not use patient restrooms.
- Only visit during hospital facility visiting hours.
- Overnight stays are restricted and only permitted if coordinated with direct care nurse or nurse manager. Shared patient rooms are excluded.
- Designated supporters of patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures may be asked to leave or wear additional personal protective equipment during the procedure.
Entry point screening requirements:
- Providence Swedish self-symptom screening stations will remain in place at patient/visitor entrances. Most stations are equipped with hand sanitizer dispensers and courtesy masks for those who need them.
- All who enter the facility must follow the screening process, which is subject to change. All are required to attest that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms in the last 24 hours and have no known recent exposure to COVID-19 in the last 10 days and have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
- Exception: patients with an outpatient appointment for diagnosis or treatment related to COVID-19 (Symptoms are subject to change).
COVID-19 symptoms (subject to change) include:
- Fever over 100° degrees F
- New cough
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches (myalgias)
- Fatigue/feeling ill/malaise
- New loss of smell or taste
- New or unusual congestion/runny nose
- New or unusual headache
The health and safety of our patients and caregivers is our top priority. These restrictions will be in place until COVID-19 transmission is no longer a threat to our community, or until guidance from public health authorities change.
Providence Medical Group Clinics
For your safety and ours, visitor restrictions are in place at Providence clinics. Visitors are limited to those accompanying:
- OB patients
- Patients who have physical or cognitive challenges and require a companion.
- Pediatric patients – both parents may attend the appointment.
Open entrances at Providence Regional Medical Center - Pacific campus:
- Level 1 Main Entrance
- Nassau Parking Garage entrance
- Main Pavilion entrance
Open entrances at Providence Regional Medical Center - Colby campus:
- Emergency Department (this is the only open entrance on the campus from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.)
- Medical Office Building entrance (closes at 7 p.m., M-F and closed weekends with no access to the hospital)
- Parking garage sky bridge, third floors (for the south sky bridge entrance, see Medical Office Building bullet above for access limitations to the hospital)
- 1717 building (Providence Regional Cancer Partnership) is open from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
When transmission levels are high for common respiratory viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends universal masking in health care settings. At Providence Swedish we adhere to federal and local recommendations to better support staff and patient safety and maintain the overarching goal of providing excellent patient care.
We know masking is an important measure to prevent infections. Safety is our top priority, and we are working through appropriate changes in our masking guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
If you have additional questions about masking, please contact the hospital or clinic in which you will be seen or plan to visit.
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