Erlanger restricts visitation policy in response to Covid surge

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Erlanger Health Systems is the second area hospital to tighten up their visitation policy during the current Covid surge.

The new policy went into affect this morning.

Basically, they will limit patients to one visitor per visitation period.

But the details vary by institution and services.

“The revised policy will be in place until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer perceived as a threat to patients, staff, and the community.”

The Parkridge Health System announced their own visitation restrictions last week.

CHI Memorial has not changed policies at this time.

Here are Erlanger’s updated visitation details on their website.

Screening and Masks
Please note that all visitors will be screened at the entrances and are required to wear either a homemade or surgical face mask that completely covers the mouth and nose without large holes or gaps during their visit. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mask. Depending on availability, a surgical mask may be provided if they do not have one; if supplies are not sufficient then visitors without a mask will not be permitted.

If you are ill
Visitors will not be allowed if they have symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath).

Children under age 14 will not be allowed except under extraordinary circumstances. Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital will not allow children under age 12.

Baroness and Children’s Hospitals Entrances:
Entrances – Visitors for Baroness Hospital must enter from the main parking garage “Main Entrance” that leads to the gift shop. Visitors for Children’s Hospital must enter through the Children’s Hospital parking garage entrance (opposite from Main Hospital Entrance). Visitors who enter through the Emergency Department to visit an inpatient will be directed outside to these entry points for screening.

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Entrance:
All patients, including emergency patients, and visitors must drive to the main entrance canopy of the hospital where they will be screened in their vehicle. After receiving approval to enter, they will receive an armband and be directed to their destination. This location will operate from 5:30AM to 5:00PM Monday – Friday. The ER will be the only access point all other times.

For all Erlanger Health System Hospitals unless otherwise noted:

After Screening – Visitors will be directed to the Concierge Desk to obtain a visitor badge which must be visibly worn during visitation. Baroness and Children’s Hospitals visitor badges have a color identifier that changes daily. Approved overnight visitors for Baroness and Children’s Hospitals will receive a different badge specifying room number and “overnight visitor” identifier.

Visitation Hours: 4pm – 8pm at Erlanger Baroness, Bledsoe, East, and North Hospitals.

Inpatient Visitation –

  • One (1) visitor will be allowed per visitation period. Visitors will not be allowed entry until visitation time except for end-of-life or extraordinary circumstances.
  • Western Carolina Hospitalmay have TWO (2) visitors in the room at one time for adult patients between the hours of 9 AM and 6PM. Overnight visitors may be approved depending on circumstances and patient needs. Children under age 12 will not be allowed to visit except under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Minors, under age 18, at Children’s Hospitalmay have TWO (2) visitors (parent or guardian) with option for overnight stay. A maximum of THREE (3) support people may be identified during the entire time in the facility, but only TWO (2) are allowed at the bedside. Support visitors may switch out but are not to exceed the maximum approved THREE (3).

ICU Patients –

  • ONE (1) visitor during visitation hours from 4PM to 8PM.
  • Once a visitor leaves they will not be allowed reentry until the next visitation time.
  • End-of-Life patients may have a total of FOUR (4) visitors that can swap out.
  • Western Carolina Hospital ICU patients may have TWO (2) visitor during visitation hours from 9PM to 6PM

Obstetric patients at East and Baroness Hospitals may have TWO (2) support people at the bedside during the entire stay. Support visitors cannot switch out with another.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients at East and Children’s Hospitals may have ONE (1) birth parent plus ONE (1) significant other, but only ONE (1) visitor at the bedside at a time.

Emergency Department –

  • Adult Emergency Departments (Baroness, East, Sequatchie Valley, and Bledsoe) have implemented a NO VISITOR policy until further notice.
  • End-of-Life patients can have TWO (2) visitors if approved by Emergency Department Management.
  • Children’s Hospital Emergency Department patients may have TWO (2) caregivers.
  • Western Carolina Hospital Emergency patient may have ONE (1) visitor, 12 years of age or older.

Outpatient Services –

  • Adult patients, who have an appointment at an Erlanger hospital-based clinic, laboratory, or radiology, cannot have a visitor without prior approval from the practice.
  • Children’s Hospital and Kennedy Outpatient Center outpatients/ambulatory patients may have TWO (2) visitors.
  • Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital – ONE (1) companion is allowed to accompany the patient and can wait in designated areas as long as social distancing can be safely maintained.

Adult Surgical Services/ Procedures –

  • Outpatient Surgery: ONE (1) visitor allowed.
  • Inpatient Surgery: ONE (1) visitor allowed until they are able to spak to their care team at the procedure completion. Access will be limited to the waiting room area and the cafeteria.
  • Cath Procedures: ONE (1) visitor allowed.
  • Children’s Hospital Surgery: TWO (2) caregivers allowed.
  • If the waiting area becomes overcrowded to the point that social distancing cannot be safely practiced visitors will be asked to wait outside the facility until overcrowding is no longer an issues as determined by the Surgical Service Management.

No visitors will be allowed for patients who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test.

  • End-of-life patients with positive or pending COVID-19 tests:
  • ONE (1) visitor will be allowed after screening and if they wear appropriate PPE in patient room
  • Visit must be approved and schedule with House Supervisor.
  • Visitor is required to sign COVID-19 Release and Waiver prior to entry.

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital: TWO (2) visitors per day after the visitors have passed screening, sign authorization, and must wear appropriate PPE in patient room. Visitation is limited to 15 minutes and must be scheduled with care team. Once a visitor leaves they will not be granted reentry until the next day.

Visitors must stay in the patient room and wear a mask during their entire visit. Inpatient hospital visitors can go to the cafeteria but must wear a mask the entire time and return to patient room after getting food. The Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital cafeteria is closed to the public until further notice.

Visitors may bring one small bag with one set of clothing for discharge and toiletry items for patient.

Flower and Balloon Deliveries –

  • Baroness and Children’s Hospitals: Flowers and balloons may be purchased through the Erlanger Auxiliary Gift Shop at the Baroness Hospital and delivered by an Erlanger employee or volunteer to a patient’s room at the Baroness Hospital or Children’s Hospital.
  • All Erlanger Hospitals:Florists delivering flowers or balloons must leave the delivery at an Information Desk at the appropriate Erlanger hospital to be delivered by an Erlanger employee or volunteer to a patient’s room.
  • Visitors with flowers or balloons:Visitors may bring flowers or balloons to a patient’s room during their visitation. However, the visitation policy must be followed.
  • ICUs:Flowers are not allowed in the ICU.

Due to the changing nature of COVID-19’s presence in Eastern Tennessee, North Georgia, and Western North Carolina, this policy will be revised accordingly in response to circumstances.


Categories: COVID-19, Hamilton County, Health, Local News