The visitor policy at Great Plains Health will relax to allow children ages 16 and older to visit patients in all areas instead of requiring visitors to be 19 or older, the hospital announced Thursday.

Also:

  • Two support persons will be allowed to be with patients receiving same-day services.
  • Both parents are allowed at the bedside of pediatric (child) patients, including in the emergency room. 

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services advise healthcare facilities to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through infection prevention practices and to review CDC guidelines and advisories, GPH spokeswoman Megan McGown said.  

Masks are required for patients, staff and visitors at all Great Plains Health locations, including people who are vaccinated for COVID-19.

Also, each visitor will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms before entering the building.

“As COVID-19 cases decline in our community, we are evaluating our practices to ensure that we have the safest policy in place for our patients, staff and the community,” said chief executive officer Mel McNea. “We recognize the importance that visitors play in the healing process of our patients, and we are continually trying to balance our policies with the need to keep our patients, staff and community safe and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.”

McNea said GPH respects the loosening of mask mandates across the state and nation; however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines no longer cover healthcare settings and masks are required at all Great Plains Health sites and clinics.

“We have collaborated with other hospitals in our region and are confident that our policies are in line what others are doing as well as following CDC recommendations for healthcare settings,” said Tina Pate, chief nursing officer. “Our hope is that as more people are vaccinated and the spread of COVID-19 continues to decline, we will be able to return to a much more relaxed visitor policy.” 

The current Great Plains Health visitor policy can be viewed at gphealth.org/visitors.

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