Providence Health Updates Visitation Policy

December 31, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC (March 8, 2021) - Providence Health is committed to providing the highest quality care and as the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, so does our hospitals' response. In addition to the steps we’ve taken including a consistent screening at entry points, requiring masks, social distancing measures, closing common areas, and adhering diligently to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Providence Health is taking additional steps to help ensure the safety of everyone at our facility. 

Effective  Beginning Monday, March 8, 2021 Providence Health will have an updated visitor’s policy. 

All these measures are in place to protect our facility and our community. Please know that our providers and clinical teams are well trained and prepared to manage outbreaks of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, seasonal flu, and other respiratory illnesses.

To continuously ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to evaluate our visitation parameters. 

In-Patient Visitation 

  • All allowable visitors will be subject to an active screening for risk factors of COVID-19. Temperatures will be checked and visitors with symptoms will be asked to go home. All visitors, without exception, will be screened at check point areas at both Providence Health Downtown and Providence Health Northeast. 
  • Approved visitors are encouraged to stay in the patient’s room. All visitors must follow all personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines as instructed by the care team.  
  • Two visitors per patient daily. 
  • Visitation hours are from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm daily. 
  • Age limitation: 16 years old or older.  
  • Visitors need to be independent and will require no assistance. 
  • *COVID 19 patients will have one visitor per day. However, please consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely.  
  • Managers/Directors will need to provide the screening team direction when changes in the visitation policy is necessary.  

Extenuating Circumstances — Two or more visitors are permitted; the patient’s care team will determine if extenuating circumstances apply and discuss these with the patient and their family/appropriate person. 

  • Extenuating circumstances may include imminent end-of-life situations, or support person is determined to be essential to the care of the patient/medically necessary (patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, or patients with cognitive impairments including dementia). 
  • If the patient is a parent of a minor child (age 17 and under), one adult family member may be permitted at the patient’s bedside and a second adult parent may also visit, if applicable. 
  • The duration of a single visit may be limited for those who meet extenuating circumstances. 
  • Any support person/visitor suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 will not be allowed to visit any patient at the hospital. 

Non-Medical Visitation — No visitation will be permitted for non-medical purposes such as going to the café or gift shop.  

Outpatient Procedures and Diagnostic 

  • Two visitors per patient daily. 
  • Visitors need to be independent and will require no assistance. 
  • All allowable visitors will be subject to an active screening for risk factors of COVID-19. Temperatures will be checked and visitors with symptoms will be asked to go home.  

Emergency Department Visitation 

  • One visitor per patient daily. 
  • Visitors need to be independent and will require no assistance. 
  • All allowable visitors will be subject to an active screening for risk factors of COVID-19. Temperatures will be checked and visitors with symptoms will be asked to go home.  

Weekend Visitation 

  • Entrance Screening for In-patient visitations will take place at both Providence Health Downtown and Providence Health Northeast Emergency Departments by assigned individuals on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 pm until 6:00 pm.  
  • Security staff will support and be available to enforce Visitation Guidelines. 
  • We sincerely express regret for any inconvenience this visitation policy may cause you and your family. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 to you, your loved ones, and the community.  
  • We know that visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. That’s why this visitation policy will be reevaluated daily and removed as soon as conditions allow. 

*If a patient is already inpatient, and will be having a procedure in our hospital: 
o Two visitors may be allowed to wait at the procedural area(s). This will enhance communication with patients and families post procedure(s).

What you can do

The good news is that there are some key steps you can take to help protect you and your loved ones and help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your phone, computer, remote controls and doorknobs
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • Using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available (Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty)
  • Practicing social distancing behaviors, including working from home, avoiding public gatherings and unnecessary travel, and maintaining a distance of approximately six feet from others when possible.

What to do if you are experiencing symptoms

First and foremost - if you are having a medical emergency, you should call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room. If possible, notify the dispatch agent that your emergency involves symptoms possibly related to COVID-19. 

For non-emergency needs, if you need medical attention due to respiratory illness symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and plan to visit our hospital, your primary care provider, or an urgent clinic, please call ahead before you go and let them know that you are experiencing symptoms that may possibly be related to COVID-19. This will allow providers to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed.

Please be reassured that our number one priority is the health and well-being of our community – and that includes you. We are prepared to manage an outbreak of respiratory illness, and we encourage you to follow the guidance above and stay tuned to updates from the CDC to help protect you and your loved ones. Keeping our community healthy is a community effort, and we are committed to doing everything we can to keep our community healthy today and for generations to come.

For more information and to stay abreast of the latest updates on COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov.