Good Samaritan Tightening Inpatient Visitor Restrictions

Good Samaritan is taking extra precaution to protect patients, employees, visitors and the general public following the Indiana State Department of Health announcing confirmed cases of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in Indiana.

Beginning March 16, 2020, inpatient units will be locked down to only approved visitors that have passed a visitor screening assessment and who are 18 years of age or older. Visitors will also be limited to two visitors at a time, per patient. Once a visitor has passed a visitor assessment, the visitor will be given an approval form and a badge for inpatient unit access for one day. Visitors will be required to go through this process each day they visit.

Inpatient visitors must follow the information below to access inpatient areas (ICU, Med/Surg, Surgical, OB, Inpatient Rehabilitation, LaSalle Behavioral Health):

Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitor access/screening will be available at the first floor Gibault Memorial inpatient elevators and the 6th Street / Grouseland Entrance. (ALL hospital visitors will be stopped and asked their reason for visit upon entering the building at the 6th street entrance, however only those visiting an inpatient will need to complete a screening assessment).

Every Day from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Visitor access/screening will be available at the Emergency Room entrance. Between the hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. visitors will have to show photo ID during this time as part of the visitor screening.

Saturday and Sunday

All access to the hospital and visitor screening will be at the Emergency Room entrance.

The Visitor Health Screening includes six yes or no questions that include: Had fever in the past 48 hours; Had diarrhea or vomiting in the past 48 hours; Had symptoms of a resipatory infection such as shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, etc.; Travel to areas with sustained COVID-19 (China, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Iran); Contact with someone with known or suspected coronavirus Covid-19; and Age under 18 years old. If a visitor answers yes to any of these questions, the visitor will be denied access to visit. The age restriction also applies to young children of new parents on the obstetrics unit.

The only exceptions are if the visitor is visiting a patient who is at the end of life, or are the parent of a hospitalized child that is younger than 18 years old. In these cases, the visitors will be required to wear personal protective equipment to visit their loved one.

On Saturday and Sunday, the only access to the inside of the hospital will be through the Emergency Room entrance. Signage will be in place to direct visitors and patients how to get to the Health Pavilion and Gibault Memorial.

Rob McLin, President and CEO of Good Samaritan, stated that these visitor restrictions are the first step to help protect our patients and employees from the potential of contracting the coronavirus. “Even though we have not seen the coronavirus locally, we believe we need to be proactive in our approach to protect our patients and staff,” he said. “We receive information from the CDC on a daily basis and will continue to revise these restrictions as necessary, especially if the virus becomes confirmed locally.”

Hospital officials are also urging those in the community who have a respiratory illness to first call their primary care provider on the phone to receive guidance on appropriate care. Depending on severity of the illness, the patient may be given guidance on how to self-treat at home or in severe cases to seek emergency medical attention.

“For Indiana residents who do not have a primary care provider, we would suggest you utilize our virtual visit service – My Health Live,” stated Adam Thacker, Chief Operating Officer of Good Samaritan. “This video visit service is ideal to help keep the spread of respiratory illnesses to a minimum.”

My Health Live video visits can be accessed by visiting gshvin.org/my-health-live. Patients can also call a 24/7 nurse triage hotline to discuss their symptoms; the phone number is 812-450-6555. If care is needed, the nurse will direct the patient on where to go and what to do. A symptom checker for coronavirus is also available through My Chart.

Patients who have appointments within the hospital or at Physician Network offices will also be asked screening questions about travel, fever and respiratory illness. Those who answer yes to those questions will be given a surgical mask to wear and may be isolated from the general waiting room.

Robin McDonald, RN, Infection Prevention Coordinator for Good Samaritan, says as far as Covid-19 testing goes, the hospital is following CDC and Indiana State Department of Health guidelines. “At this time, the CDC and Indiana Department of Health have strict definitions of who can be tested for COVID-19 through the ISDH state lab,” she said. “Patients who do not qualify for testing of COVID-19 will be instructed to home quarantine during their illness unless the patient’s condition requires medical assessment and care.”

Visitor restrictions aren’t the only thing Good Samaritan is doing to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus. The hospital is also enforcing a work-related travel restriction for employees. This means that employees will not be allowed to attend any conferences, continuing education opportunities, and large off-site meetings. Air travel will not be allowed for any work-related purposes.

Employees who have personal travel plans will need to report their plans to their supervisor, including their travel dates, destination, and mode of transportation. Any travel plans that may put the employee at risk of coronavirus will be reported to the hospital’s Infection Control Prevention so that follow up may be conducted with that employee upon their return.

“We are encouraging employees to really consider the risk and benefits of personal air travel and attendance at events or destinations with a large volume of people in attendance,” said Tara Ellermann, Director of Human Resources at Good Samaritan. “We realize that spring break is right around the corner and employees have vacation plans. We aren’t telling employees not to keep their plans, we just want them to use their best judgement for the health safety of themselves and their family.”

Hospital supervisors will also be monitoring all illness call-ins. Any employee who has an unplanned absence for self-illness or the illness of an immediate family member will have to be cleared to return to work.

Information about the coronavirus and the hospital’s currect restrictions can be found at gshvin.org/coronavirus.

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