Coronavirus Update

 


Caring for and protecting our patients, families, employees, and the community during COVID-19 is of the utmost importance to Luminis Health. As a patient- and family-centered organization, we continue to review and update our visitor guidelines and practices as the situation changes.

Below are the most up-to-date guidelines at Doctors Community Medical Center, effective Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. While temporary restrictions remain in place, exceptions and guidelines for specific areas are below. General guidelines apply to all visitors.

 
 

GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR ALL PATIENTS, FAMILY MEMBERS AND SUPPORT PERSONS 

Hospital Guidelines

  • Visitation hours are from 8 am-8 pm. Exceptions depend on circumstances noted below.
  • ICU visitor hours are from 11 am-3 pm and 4-7pm
  • Family members/Support persons must wear a facemask at all times, covering mouth and nose, at all times. Bandanas, scarves and vented masks are not as effective. If a family member/support person needs a mask, we will supply one at entry.
  • Family members/Support persons must check-in upon arrival at the entrances to the hospital. 
  • We will give family members/support persons a “welcome sticker” after the successful completion of a brief health screening. A successful health screen means there is no indication of a fever or sign of respiratory illness.
  • An adult must accompany minors under the age of 18.
  • Family members/Support persons must wash hands or use hand sanitizer upon entry into or exit from patient rooms.  
  • Family members/Support persons should stay in the patient room or treatment area. Family members/Support persons should limit trips to the cafeteria, public restrooms, and other public areas.
  • Family members/Support persons should limit personal belongings brought onto campus. 
  • Family members/support persons should stop at the front desk to check out when leaving the hospital. After checking out, please exit promptly.
  • Waiting rooms are only for the Emergency Department and Procedural Care areas with appropriate social distance and maximum capacity honored.
  • Family members/Support persons should not gather in lounges, lobbies, or hallways.
  • Family members/Support persons attending palliative, hospice, or goals of care meetings may have up to three persons in a meeting room. Two persons may be at the bedside. 
  • Family members/Support persons should be 18 years and older unless the visit is for end of life.
  • Patients who are 21 years of age or under may have a parent or guardian with them. If under the age of 18, two consistent parents/support persons may be present during their stay.
  • Clergy of any denomination may visit a patient at any time. They will not count in the visitor max. 
  • Family members/Support persons who serve as a surrogate decision maker, including power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for a patient, and need to be physically present to engage in the decision making process are permitted at all times. The attending physician will be the final decision maker as to whether someone needs to be physically present.
  • Hospital guests with an official governmental function may be present.
 

SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS GUIDELINES 

General Hospital Visitation Guidelines:

  • No family members/support persons allowed for patients with COVID-19 positive results unless they meet exception criteria listed below.

Acute Life-Threatening Event:

  • All patients, including those with COVID-19 positive results, may have up to two family members/support persons at bedside, allowed 24/7 on all units.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU):

  • No family members/support persons allowed for patients with COVID-19 positive results unless they meet exception criteria listed below. 
  • All patients, including those with COVID-19 positive results, may have up to two family members/support persons at bedside, allowed 24/7 on all units. 
  • Because of the intensive or critical care needs of these patients, up to two family members/support persons per day may visit from 11 am-3 pm and 4-7 pm for patients with COVID-19 negative results. 
  • No family members/support persons allowed for patients with COVID-19 positive results unless they meet exception criteria. 

End of Life: 

  • If the health care team deems the patient is at end of life, the care team will contact the family (as defined by patient). 
  • Patients who have COVID-19 negative or positive results may have up to two family members/support persons at bedside, 24/7 on all units.
    • Family members/Support persons may switch throughout the visit.
    • An adult must be with minors under 18. The minor counts as the second visitor. 

Patients with Disabilities: 

All licensed Maryland health care facilities shall comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and state and federal regulations and recognize the rights and needs for individuals with disabilities.  The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities for such individual, a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

A support person may be appropriate for, but is not limited to, patients with intellectual, developmental, physical or neurocognitive disabilities. Major life activities can include but are not limited to such activities as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

A support person can include, but is not limited to family members, personal care assistants, disability service providers, or individuals knowledgeable about the management or care of the patient who is authorized to assist the patient in making decisions.

  • One support person may accompany, visit, and stay with a patient 24/7 during their visits to health care facilities. Access is applicable to all patients, who meet disability criteria, including those with COVID-19 positive results. We will issue PPE (mask, gown, gloves, and eye protection). The support person must wear PPE during the entire visit/appointment.
  • Admitted patients are welcome to have one additional family member/support person present during the hours of 11 am- 8 pm in addition to their support person.
  • We will screen all support persons for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival and periodically during their stay if appropriate. Anyone with symptoms or who answers yes to the screening questions is not able to visit or serve as the support person for the patient.
  • We will instruct support persons on how to utilize and conserve PPE. Support persons shall adhere to all PPE procedures.
  • Support persons are able to access public restrooms, cafeteria/vending areas while in the health care facility. We do ask that these trips are limited when possible.
  • We may ask support persons to leave the room during certain procedures.
  • If a caregiver, support person, or family member cannot be present, they may contact a member of the health care team for an update on the patient’s status. The health care team will contact the appropriate next of kin or legal representative for medical care decisions or emergent situations. Video conferencing is available if needed or desired.
  • We will provide a copy of the Access to Support for Patients with Disabilities in Health Care Settings Policy and the Support Persons for Individuals with Disabilities Notice to all patients.
  • If other accommodations are needed or for additional questions contact the following:
    • Patient Advocacy, seven days a week from 9 am – 5 pm at 443-481-6890 (modified holiday hours).
    • Hospital Administrator, after hours seven days a week from 5 – 9 pm at 443-481-5909.


Emergency Department: 

  • One family member/support person is welcome to remain with a patient through their stay in the Emergency Department.
  • If critically ill, two family members (defined by patient/family) may be present per above “Acute Life-Threatening” guidelines. 
  • Pediatric Patients
    • Two consistent parents/support persons may be with the patient during their entire stay. Applicable to all patients, including those who have COVID-19 positive results.
    • If siblings are present and have no one to care for them, please contact leadership.


Surgical/Procedural Patients:

  • As capacity allows, the patient is welcome to have one family member/support person remain with them through registration and the pre-operative stay before their procedure. We will ask the family member/support person to leave and wait off campus once the patient is taken in for their procedure. 
  • Once the patient is ready for pick up or settled into their inpatient room, hospital staff will contact the family member/support person. Visitation times will be 11 am-8 pm. 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I am scheduled for a surgery or procedure at a Luminis Health hospital – should I reschedule my appointment?

Doctors Community Hospital is open for elective surgeries.

If I am feeling sick, should I still keep my appointment?

As you know, the world is experiencing notable person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Experts estimate that the majority of people who get this virus may have mild symptoms. But it can be quite severe for members of our community with underlying health conditions.

For this reason, we ask that if you have any respiratory symptoms -- such as a cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, or fever – that you please cancel or postpone your specialist appointment unless it is absolutely essential. We know that you may have waited or planned for this visit, so we will make it a priority to reschedule your appointment when you are feeling better.

Staying home while sick is one of the most important things you can do to help during this time. All of us have to work together to reduce the chance of transmission of this (or other) respiratory viruses.

If you have respiratory symptoms, please call your primary care provider’s office to be evaluated. If you have traveled recently to China, Italy, Japan, Iran, or South Korea, or think you may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, please call your county health department.

We appreciate your patience and consideration. Thank you for helping us keep your family, friends and neighbors healthy.

What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and has now been detected in more than 170 countries.

COVID-19 has similar symptoms to the flu, which include coughing, fever, sore throat and difficulty breathing, and also includes loss of taste or sense of smell

This is an emerging and evolving situation. For the most updated guidance, symptoms and information, visit the CDC website.

How is COVID-19 spread? 

COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact with each other (within six feet) through respiratory droplets from coughs or sneezes. According to the CDC, there have not been documented cases of transmission of COVID-19 from surfaces contaminated with the virus. However, the CDC recommends cleaning visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection to help prevent COVID-19 and other viruses in homes and community settings.

Are symptoms of COVID-19 different in children than in adults?

The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar in children and adults, though children who have tested positive have generally exhibited milder symptoms. The CDC says it’s unknown whether children with underlying medical conditions and special health care needs might be at higher risk, however.

What if I think I have symptoms of COVID-19 and want testing?

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please call your health care provider to see if further screening is necessary before you arrive at one of our locations. By calling in advance, your provider can take your health history over the phone and, if needed, work with the appropriate state officials to determine if you require testing. In most cases, outpatient management with self-isolation at home is the best way to manage COVID-19 symptoms.

If I am a high-risk individual, how should I protect myself? 

In order to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19, we recommend taking several precautions. This includes wearing a mask when outside of your home and maintain social distancing of 6ft or more. Learn more on Coronavirus and high-risk individuals.

How does COVID-19 impact your pregnancy and baby?

As with many other things, your immune system changes during pregnancy. This is normal, but it can increase your risk for contracting viruses and developing complications. Unfortunately, little is known about COVID-19’s effect on pregnant women and infants. Based on experiences from other coronaviruses, pregnant women may be at higher risk of severe respiratory illness, morbidity, or death as compared with the general population.

It is important to understand that, so far, COVID-19 has not been detected in either amniotic fluid or breast milk. However, it is too early to determine long-term effects on infants born to women who had COVID-19 during their pregnancy.

Can COVID-19 be passed from a pregnant woman to the fetus or newborn?

It is unknown if a pregnant woman with COVID-19 can pass the virus to her baby through pregnancy and delivery. According to the CDC, no infants born to mothers with COVID-19 have tested positive for the virus.

I am scheduled for a surgery or procedure at a Luminis Health hospital – should I reschedule my appointment?

All Luminis Health hospitals have opened for elective surgeries.

I have an appointment scheduled with my primary care provider or specialist – should I reschedule my appointment?

 No, please keep your appointment with your primary care provider or specialist.  The offices have precautions in place to keep you safe or telehealth options in some instances.

How is Luminis Health prepared for COVID-19 in our community?

We are prepared and ready to care for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our clinical teams have been trained on how to identify, isolate and care for patients with this and other contagious illnesses. We have protocols and systems in place to keep patients, visitors and health care workers safe, and we work closely with the CDC and local and state departments of health to implement their guidance into our established protocols.

Are there any people with COVID-19 in our community?

Yes, there are confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland. Please check with the Maryland State Department of Health and your local department of health for the latest information and alerts.

How do I keep myself and my family safe?

The CDC released a step-by-step guide about how households should handle a potential outbreak of coronavirus in their community.

The CDC recommends the below everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wear a mask when required.
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 or more feet when possible.

The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear a mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be worn by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of disease to others, or for health care workers who are taking care of someone in a close setting.

Note: These tips were adapted from CDC prevention tips.

Learn more about how and when to use medical masks from the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Medical masks and how to wear them