Abrazo hospitals implement visitor restrictions during flu season

Visitors and patients should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. (submitted photo)

Abrazo Community Health Network is implementing seasonal visitor restrictions for each its hospitals due to the increasing number of flu and RSV cases being reported in Maricopa County.

Hospital visitor restrictions are in effect at Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital, Abrazo Arrowhead Campus, Abrazo Central Campus, Abrazo Scottsdale Campus and Abrazo West Campus.

“Patients are able to have healthy adult visitors during this time, but no visitors under the age of 12 are allowed in the patient care areas of the hospitals” Abrazo Director of Infection Prevention Wendy Oliva, BSN, RN, CIC, stated in a prepared statement.

Sibling visitation will be restricted to post-partum with no admission to the Nursery or NICU.

“Healthy adult means those not experiencing any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache or tiredness, for example,” Ms. Oliva said.

(submitted photo)

Anyone entering the emergency department with flu or cold symptoms will be required to wear a mask, according to a press release.

Each hospital offers “flu prevention stations” located throughout the facilities which include hand sanitizer and face masks to help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Visitors and patients also are asked to cover coughs or sneezes by coughing into a shirt sleeve.

Ms. Oliva stresses the importance of proper hand hygiene before and after patient contact. Visitors and patients should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is the preferred method unless otherwise indicated.

In the rare circumstance a visitor with influenza-like illness is permitted into the hospital, he or she will have to wear a mask at all times while in the hospital, go directly to the patient’s room, and leave the hospital when the visit is complete, said Ms. Oliva.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year 5-20 percent of U.S. residents acquire an influenza virus infection. In addition, more than 200,000 persons, on average, are hospitalized each year for influenza-related complications.

Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent seasonal influenza infection, noted Ms. Oliva.

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