Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 Triggers Visitation Restrictions at Fauquier Hospital

In response to the rapid and pervasive spread of the H1N1 virus this flu season, Fauquier Hospital is temporarily restricting visitors.

Rodger Baker, CEO and president of Fauquier Health, said, “The spread of seasonal and H1N1 influenza in our community requires that we take special measures to protect our patients and staff, including limiting their exposure to visitors who may have influenza. It is difficult to determine who may be infected with an influenza virus because people can be contagious before they start showing symptoms of flu, including fever and coughing.”

“We hope these precautions will help to slow the spread of H1N1 in Fauquier County.”

Temporary Visitor Restrictions
• Instead of unrestricted, open visiting hours, there will be two blocks of visiting times: from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• No visitors under the age of 18 will be permitted.
• Visitors will be limited to two per patient room.
• Visitors must enter through the front doors of the hospital or (when the front doors are locked, at night) through the Emergency Room.
• Those who exhibit influenza-like symptoms will not be able to visit patient rooms.
• Special restrictions are in place for visitors to the Family Birthing Center. Only spouses and significant others of the mothers and grandparents of the babies will be permitted. Visitors who come to the Family Birthing Center will be asked to call into the unit from an in-house phone before being admitted.
• In the adult critical care and oncology units, visitors will be limited to spouses, significant others, parents or those directly responsible for a patient’s care.
• In the pediatric units, parents will be exempt from visiting hour restrictions.
• Some visitors may be asked to wear masks and/or other protective clothing while visiting.

Changes in the Emergency Department
Fauquier Hospital’s Emergency Department, like others throughout the region, has seen a marked increase in activity in the last week because of the H1N1 flu.

On a typical weekday, Emergency Department staff can expect to see anywhere from 70 to 90 patients. On Tuesday, October 20, more than 120 patients came through the doors, 46 of them with influenza-like symptoms. Weekends tend to be even busier.

Beginning Friday, October 23, in order to speed the flow of patients through the Emergency Department and facilitate evaluation and treatment, those with flu-like symptoms will enter the Emergency Department through a separate door near the main ED entrance. The initiative will serve to isolate potential H1N1 sufferers and protect other patients from infection. The separate ED entrances will be in use between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Once in the Emergency Department, those who have influenza-like symptoms will be hosted in an isolated unit, apart from the rest of the ED and the rest of the hospital.

The unit is equipped with special “air scrubbers” that sanitize the air.

Dr. Joseph Servideo, chairman of the Emergency Department, emphasized that if residents experience mild to moderate influenza-like symptoms – a fever higher than 100 degrees, coughing, sore throat, congestion, vomiting or diarrhea – it will not be helpful to come to the Emergency Department. “Stay home, take pain and fever reducers and drink plenty of fluids. In a week to ten days, you should be feeling better,” he advised. “Those with severe symptoms -- shortness of breath, repeated vomiting, dehydration or a fever above 103 -- or those with serious underlying conditions should seek medical attention from their doctors or at the ED.”

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