Medical Patient Modesty - a non-profit organization to improve patient modesty in medical settings

 
 
   
   

No Visitor Policy During a Pandemic

Many hospitals in American implemented a no visitor policy in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic grew worse and then implemented the policy again in November / December 2020 as coronavirus cases increased.

Hospital administrators are responsible for controlling the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses, but the zero-visitor policy is too extreme and violates a patient’s rights.

It was very encouraging that most hospitals allow pediatric and obstetrical patients to have at least one visitor (support person) with them during this pandemic. The truth is that all patients deserve to be treated in a similarly ethical manner. It’s inhumane for patients to be forced to recover or even die without one family member present.

If it is possible to use infection control measures such as health screenings and required masks to move doctors and nurses, cooks and janitors, in and out of health-care facilities safely, then there is no reason why a family member or a friend cannot follow the same steps as hospital employees.

Hospital administrators must understand the important role that loved ones can provide as members of the care team.

Important Facts:

1.) Ethically, it’s imperative for all patients to have accessibility to those who are physically and exclusively present on their behalf – not caregivers hired by the hospital who may have a conflict of interest. Because of limited time devoted to each patient, it’s impossible for even the best medical professionals to provide personalized attention to each patient. Technology is not a substitution for in-person interaction, respectful advocacy, and protection from abuse, despite the hospital’s best efforts. For these reasons, each patient must be afforded the constant presence of at least one support person at all times.

2.) The truth is medical professionals have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because of their numerous interactions with sick patients than asymptomatic family members.

3.) A patient’s inability to have a support person often prevents him/her from receiving the best possible medical care. For example, in March 2020 when a lady’s mother had a stroke, the lady was told she couldn’t stay due to COVID-19. If the daughter hadn’t been present at night on two separate occasions, her mother would have fallen out of bed. Even with the bed alarm on, the medical staff couldn’t have gotten to her quickly enough. The support person’s ability to share medical history and allergic reactions to medications, as well as assistance is invaluable. When patients don’t have an advocate, doctors and nurses can become overworked which often causes quality of medical care to go down.

4.) When there is a no visitor policy, more patients will avoid life-saving medical care because they do not want to recover alone at the hospital without their loved ones.

5.) The inability for patients to have a family member present with them as they recover has many consequences which hinders the overall recovery. Some of the consequences are: loneliness, lack of comfort, lost will to live, no one to advocate for patients’ wishes for modesty and numerous other issues, etc. Many patients prefer family members, especially spouses, to assist with personal care, i.e., bathing, dressing. Patients should always have their wishes honored.

6.) Many hospital administrators make an exemption for pediatric patients during a no-visitor policy because they realize that pediatric patients would be traumatized if they could not see at least one parent. It is important for hospital administrators to understand that many adult patients are traumatized too when they cannot have a loved one with them as they recover. Some patients who are forced to recover alone may end up with PTSD and avoid medical care in the future that could even cost their lives.

A better solution to control spread of a contagious illness especially COVID-19 is requiring all patients’ visitors to:

1.) Undergo health screenings with temperature checks and special questionnaires
2.) Remain with the patient they are supporting and no interactions with other patients
3.) Wear masks


All patients and their families are encouraged to not comply with the zero-visitor policy and challenge hospitals until they give in and honor patients’ right to have a support person even during a pandemic. Every hospital must allow every patient at least one support person not employed by the hospital to be present with her/him at all times.

The zero-visitor policy, even during a pandemic, is inhumane and should never be implemented. To end this horrible policy, we need to unite our voices and challenge any hospitals that implement this policy.

For many years, husbands were not allowed to be present for their wives’ C-Sections until a number of people challenged this policy. In the 1970s and 1980s, this policy changed because so many people voiced their opposition to this policy.

All caring hospital employees are encouraged to put pressure on hospital administrators to abandon this horrible policy.

*Check out some horrible cases of patients dying and recovering without a loved one due to no-visitor policy in the news at this link: No Visitors For Patients Due To COVID-19.

Doctors / Nurses Who Have Challenged No Visitor Policy:

If you would like to help advocate to end this zero-visitor policy at your hospital please

Please check out our video about the Zero-Visitor Policy below.


 

 

 

 
     
   
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