The Great Plains Health hospital in North Platte has updated its visitor policy to safely allow two visitors to see COVID-19 patients each morning, GPH spokeswoman Mary Roberts said Wednesday.

The visitors will be allowed to see virus patients, but they must wear personal protective equipment that will be provided by the hospital while they are in room.

The visits will take some of the pressure off the nurses and other staff, who have had to be “go-betweens” for family members and patients, in addition to providing medical care, according to previous statements by the hospital.

The updated policy reflects what health officials now know about the virus and how to safely contain its spread, Chief Nursing Officer Tina Pate said.

“Our policy is now comparable to our counterparts across the state and, ultimately, is updated to ensure that patients and their families can spend safe, valuable time together, whatever their situation may be,” Pate said.

As of Nov. 22, there were 22 COVID-19 patients at GPH, near the highest number in the last two months.

Once visitors leave the patient’s room, they will not be allowed to enter the room again until the next day.

For most other patients, visitors are allowed during the day, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. All visitors to the hospital are required to wear masks. In most departments, children who wear a mask can visit patients.

GPHealth will continue to monitor and adjust its visitor policy as appropriate, Roberts said. The current visitor policy is on the web and below:

• Visiting hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• Visitors must pass the screening, including a temperature check; wear a mask during the entire duration they are in the facility; and travel only to and from the patient’s room.

• Visitors will be given a dated sticker to indicate they have passed the screening.

• Visitors not following the guidelines will be asked to leave.

• Inpatient units: May have two visitors at a time during regular visitor hours. Children, who are capable of keeping a mask on, are allowed to visit.

COVID-19 patients:

• May have two visitors between 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily. Visitors will wear the PPE provided on the unit.

• Visitors must remain in the patient room for the duration of the visit. If they leave the patient room, they may return the following day during visitor hours.

Outpatient departments, clinics, Cancer Center and same day services

• Patients may have two support persons accompany them during their appointment.

• If the patient is admitted, visitation hours and inpatient visitor policy will be followed.

Emergency department:

• Two visitors are allowed with the patient.

• If the patient is admitted, visitation hours and inpatient visitor policy will be followed.

Behavioral health services:

• One adult visitor during visiting hours 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. daily.

NICU and pediatric patients:

• NICU and pediatric patients are allowed two visitors 24/7.

End of life/comfort care patients:

• Visitors are limited to only two family members in the room at a time, 24 hours a day.

• Special considerations may be made on a case-by-case basis.

Based in North Platte, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota with 90 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties.

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