Media Contact: Keith.O’Connor@baystatehealth.org, 413-794-7656
Our community is seeing a high incidence of influenza infection. In order to protect its patients, guests and staff to the greatest extent possible from exposure to the flu virus, Baystate Health has adopted changes to its Visitors Policy.
No visitors under 14 years old will be permitted in Baystate hospitals.
Visitors who have been exposed to the flu at home, or who have symptoms of flu, are asked to refrain from visiting patients in Baystate hospitals.
No more than two visitors at a time are recommended per patient.
Additionally, to help reduce exposure to flu in the waiting rooms of our doctors’ offices and other outpatient settings:
Patients should come to appointments alone or be accompanied by no more than one other person, if needed.
Patients are discouraged from bringing children to their appointments with them, as children are more likely to transmit the flu to others.
Visitors to Baystate facilities are asked to comply with these new guidelines to help us keep already-vulnerable hospital patients safe from flu-related illness, and to help our staff stay healthy to meet the community’s healthcare needs. Since the onset of flu season, Baystate Health has been asking visitors who are sick to consider returning home and calling the patient instead, or connecting with the patient via email or social media.
Beyond the new guidelines, Baystate Health offers the following additional tips to make the public’s visits to the hospital as safe as possible for them and their loved ones:
- Always wash your hands upon entering and leaving the patient’s room.
- Assess your own health before visiting the hospital; do not visit if you are at higher risk to contract infections.
- If the patient you are visiting has a contagious disease, consider calling instead.
- If you decide to visit a patient with a contagious illness, wear the protective items offered by the medical staff.
- Flu shots are still widely available and effective. They are your best protection against flu.
Baystate Health will continue to review the flu situation, and these restrictions will be lifted once the increased prevalence of flu has passed.