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News | Sept. 13, 2021

Visitor Guidelines

By COL Christopher G. Jarvis

SUBJECT: INPATIENT REQUEST FOR VISITATION – EXCEPTION TO POLICY

  1. Authorizing Directive. The Deputy Commanding Officer, Womack Army Medical Center is the process owner and the approving authority for all patient visitation exceptions to policy.
  2. Purpose. The intent of this memorandum is to provide guidance for inpatient visitation during the visitor restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Visitor Guidelines. Womack Army Medical Center is restricting all visitor access to the medical center. These measures simply serve as a precaution to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect all patients and staff.
    1. Children may be accompanied by one parent or caregiver.
    2. The medical center is allowing women in labor to have one support person with them. The support person privileges cannot be transferred from person-to-person.
    3. In extenuating circumstances, such as imminent end-of-life and/or a specific patient needs extra support, temporary limited visitation on inpatient wards may be granted to include, but not limited to; external spiritual support personnel and surrogate decision-makers acting as agents for consenting to treatment (e.g., signing consent forms) for a patient lacking capacity to do for themselves may be granted access for those purposes. For example, court-appointed guardians and healthcare agents with a power of attorney may be permitted to fulfill their responsibilities for the patient.
    4. Public safety and Military leadership representatives will be limited to the minimum numbers of individuals to safely perform their duties.
    5. We encourage visitors to remain closely connected to their loved ones through virtual means and/or phone.
  4. Exception to Policy for limited visitation (no more than two hours) on inpatient wards is granted on a case-by-case basis through the following approval process:
    1. Family/Caregiver requests “visitation by exception” to nursing staff.
    2. No visitors will be allowed on the inpatient wards if they are sick or have a fever in the past 24 hours.
    3. Request for visitation by exception submitted to charge nurse of patient ward (Appendix A).
    4. Charge nurse ensures the top half of the “request for visitation” form is completed.
    5. Charge nurse consults the medical team for a multi-disciplinary review of the patient status and collaboration for consensus for ETP visitation.
    6. Charge nurse contacts the visitor, to conduct a telephonic health screening for each visit.
    7. If visitor passes the screening, the charge nurse submits request for visitation form to the Nursing Supervisor.
    8. Nursing Supervisor authorizes visitation request and contacts the visitor to advise them of process to enter the facility including PPE requirements.
    9. Visitor will be met at the (pre-determined entrance) and escorted by nursing supervisor to area where appropriate PPE will be distributed.
  5. PPE and Documentation Requirements for Visitors.
    1. The following PPE will be provided with instructions on donning and doffing to all visitors by the nursing staff: Surgical mask, Goggles (or disposable surgical mask with face shield), gown, and gloves.
    2. Nursing Documentation within Nursing Note or IC Note: “Patient’s visitor provided education regarding risks for transmission for COVID19, how to put on and take off personal protective equipment, and how to perform hand hygiene. Patient’s visitors instructed to limit movement throughout facility after visitation Patient’s visitor acknowledged and verbalized understanding.”
    3. Please make sure the visitor education and documentation is completed in the patient chart.
    4. Document the visitation on the attached Visitor Entry and Monitoring Log (Appendix B).
    5. Submit Visitor Entry and Monitoring Log to Infection Control Office upon patient discharge.
  6. Appeal Process for Visitors: If visitation is denied and an appeal is requested, the nursing supervisor will instruct the patient/visitor on the following process.
    1. The request for exception to policy for visitation will be sent to the Executive Officer On Call (EOOC) for review.
    2. The EOOC will consult with the medical team and review the health screening of the visitor.
    3. The EOOC will make a final decision to allow for visitation.
    4. If visitation approved by the EOOC, will notify the nursing supervisor.
  7. Access to Ft. Bragg Installation.
    1. If the approved visitor has valid military issued identification card (ID) then access to the installation will be granted without restriction.
    2. If the approved visitor does not have a valid military issued ID card, they must access the installation through the Fort Bragg Visitors center at the All American gate. The visitor must present driver license or other documentation serving as proof of identification.
  8. Visitor Rights and Responsibilities.
    1. Visitors, patients and staff are all to adhere to the rights and responsibilities adopted by the WAMC organization.
    2. The nursing supervisor will inform the visitor of the rights and responsibilities after approval for visitation and provide a hard copy to the visitor upon entry to the facility (Appendix C).
    3. If any violation of the rights and responsibilities are observed during the visitation timeframe, WAMC holds the right to ask the visitor to leave the premises.

For more information please see the MEMORANDUM FOR INPATIENT SERVICES.

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