COVID-19 VISITOR
RESTRICTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions

Beaufort
Memorial Hospital (BMH) is implementing new measures to protect patients, staff
and community members. These measures include restricting
all visitors to the hospital, outpatient areas and physician clinics
until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat. This information
sheet provides answers to common questions, how you can be sure your loved one
is being safely cared for and what you can do to help protect yourself and others.

What are the rules?

  • Visitors are not permitted in the hospital,
    except under the following specific circumstances:
  • Labor and Delivery: One designated visitor per
    patient.
  • Pediatric Unit: One designated visitor per
    patient.
  • Patients requiring assistance and end-of-life
    care will be evaluated on a case-by-case
    basis.            
  • No visitors are permitted in any BMH facility,
    which includes the outpatient surgery center, outpatient testing/procedure
    areas, physician clinics and administrative buildings. Caregivers will be asked
    to wait in their cars pending notification that the patient is ready to leave.
  • Beaufort Memorial Express Care &
    Occupational Health waiting areas are closed to both patients and visitors.
    Patients visiting the Beaufort and Bluffton Express Care locations will be
    asked to check in at the desk and return to their vehicle to wait to be seen by
    a provider.
  • Patients reporting to
    Beaufort Memorial’s emergency room with mild fever and respiratory symptoms may
    be directed to the COVID-19 triage and screening tents in the parking lot
    directly in front of the ER. The alternate screening site opened to accommodate
    more patients and staff comfortably, while protecting ER patients without
    respiratory symptoms from potential exposure. The site includes two
    climate-controlled tents, one of which serves as a waiting/triage area and the
    other a test collection site.

Why am I asked for personal information when I enter the
building?

During this outbreak, it is important for us to identify everyone
entering our buildings for signs of illness (fever above 99.5, runny nose, a
cough or shortness of breath) that may mean they have COVID-19 or an acute
respiratory infection. All people coming to BMH during restricted visitation
must be screened daily even if screened a previous day. You may also be asked
to provide a temperature reading upon arrival at a BMH facility.

Why are caregivers being
asked to wait in their cars during patients’ outpatient visits?

In
order to reduce exposure, we are asking caregivers to wait in their cars during
their loved one’s visit rather than in our waiting rooms. This is an important
step in keeping you, our patients and staff safe. If your loved one needs your
assistance during the visit, please discuss this with the receptionist and
accommodations will be made.

If I am not able to be with my loved one in person, how can
I stay connected with them?

It is important for you to stay connected with your loved one
to be informed about their health, support them, and help make medical
decisions even if you cannot be there in person. Fortunately, there are options
for you to connect with your loved one and their healthcare team through
technology. Hospital phones are available in patient rooms. Your loved one may
also use their personal phones, computers or tablets to stay connected with you
through audio and video chatting and texting.

How can I be sure that my
loved one will be safely cared for during the COVID-19 outbreak?

It is important to know that BMH
regularly prepares for disease outbreaks, conducts regular preparedness drills
and is able to adapt quickly to infectious disease outbreaks. We are always
training our staff on how to protect patients and themselves as they care for
patients. You will see employees wash or sanitize their hands each and every
time they enter and exit the patient’s room. You may see employees wearing
Personal Protection Equipment (gown, gloves, face shields or goggles). Our
employees routinely wear these items any time they enter the room of a patient
with an infectious illness. Our employees safely dispose of these items before
going into the next patient room. This keeps their clothing free from germs so
they may safely care for other patients.

What can I do to prevent the
spread of COVID-19 and to protect myself and others?

If you are granted an exception
to visit or remain with a patient, here are steps you can take to protect
yourself and your loved one:

  • Limit your
    movement around our facilities. Wash or sanitize your hands before and after
    eating, using the restroom, exiting and entering patient areas.
  • Feel comfortable
    asking any member of the health care team to wash their hands again if you are
    unsure that they washed or sanitized their hands upon entering the room.
  • Stay home if you
    have symptoms of illness (fever, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath).
  • Cover your mouth
    and nose when you cough or sneeze. The best way to cover your mouth and nose is
    to cough or sneeze into the elbow of your arm. Throw tissues away immediately
    and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching
    your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

What if I visited a patient
and didn’t have any symptoms of illness, but then notice symptoms later?

If you have a fever, cough and shortness
of breath, please contact your doctor’s office. We also offer free BMH Care
Anywhere visits 24/7 to patients with respiratory-illness systems. Visit www.bmhsc.org
for more information.

May I still send flowers, food, or other items to my loved
one?

In order to help limit the number of people in our buildings,
please do not send flowers, food, or other items that must be delivered. You
are able to send an electronic Cheer Card via our website (www.bmhsc.org/patients-and-visitors/for-visitors/send-a-cheer-card).