Ozarks Healthcare modifies Visitor Restrictions with COVID-19 Precautions Still in Place
Beginning April 14, Ozarks Healthcare modified visitor restrictions to make visiting patients easier. Patients admitted to its hospital are now allowed to have one visitor at a time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., allowing for multiple loved ones to visit with patients and their care teams. Visitors were previously allowed one visitor per day. Visitors will continue to be screened at their point of entry and will be required to wear a mask. Each visitor will be required to remain in the patient’s room at all times.
“Communication with loved ones has been scientifically proven to help with the healing process for those in hospital care,” Lacey Carter, Ozarks Healthcare Executive Director of Nursing, said. “While we are prepared to tighten our restrictions again if necessary, we have reviewed this decision to make sure we have the safest environment for our patients and coworkers. Keeping all aspects of patient care – mental and physical – is at the top of our priorities.”
Exceptions to current hospital visitor restrictions include:
- Emergency Department: One visitor (18 years and older) at a time is permitted, with the exception of pediatric patients.
- End-of-life care: The patient’s clinical team can make exceptions at their discretion.
- Pediatrics: Up to two parents/guardians at a time are permitted. (This includes all patients under 18 years old.)
- Labor and Delivery and Postpartum: One support person for labor and delivery patients is permitted.
- Neuropsychiatric Unit: Visiting hours for neuropsychiatric patients are from 3 to 4 p.m. daily. One visitor at a time is permitted.
“As COVID-19 cases across our state and region continue to fluctuate, we are constantly reviewing our COVID-19 policies to make sure the safety of our patients, visitors, and coworkers is being protected as much as possible,” Tom Keller, Ozarks Healthcare President and CEO, said. “While we feel we can safely allow a slight increase in visitors at our hospital right now, there are some precautions, such as masking, that we still believe are necessary to ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone on our campus.”
While COVID-19 case numbers have decreased statewide compared to recent months, new research suggests cases could potentially increase due to new variants and relaxed public health policies. According to a report from the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA), Missouri experienced an 11.4% increase in hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the first time in nearly four months last week. Suspected and confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations increased substantially for the first time since early January. On April 11, Missouri hospitals reported 771 hospitalized patients — an 11.4% increase over the previous week.
On March 30, Ozarks Healthcare had no hospital COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized. This marked the first time in 217 days the organization had no COVID-19 hospitalizations. Beginning April 8, COVID-19-positive patients hospitalized have varied from one to two daily. At the time of this news release, one COVID-19-postive patient is hospitalized at Ozarks Healthcare. Ozarks Healthcare has performed 13,280 COVID-19 tests to date.
All Ozarks Healthcare coworkers and patients are still required to be temperature screened and wear a mask at all locations. Virtual visits continue to be available for patients. A virtual visit is a high-quality virtual face-to-face video and audio visit that allows patients to speak with their providers in a secure and personal way. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare’s COVID-19 visitor restrictions and policies, visit https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/coronavirus-updates/.
Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 17 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.