Headwaters hospital opening doors to essential visitors this week

July 10, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Headwaters Health Care Centre took the next step in its reopening plan on Tuesday, opening its doors to essential visitors. 

Speaking to the Citizen, Kim Delahunt, the local hospital’s president and CEO, defined an essential visitor as someone who provides personal, social, phycological, emotional and physical support to a patient, who enables the process of care and patient flow, and who helps to discharge patients from the hospital. 

“It is a good move. There is provincial guidance that came out for reopening following COVID-19, and we’re pretty much following it to a tee,” Ms. Delahunt said. “We’re happy to be able to welcome essential visitors back. I think patients will appreciate it, and staff will be happy to welcome select visitors back.”

It should be stressed that there is no resumption of open visiting at this time. The number of visitors is being restricted for the safety of all patients as staff, as COVID-19 continues to be present in the community. The hospital outlined several rules essential visitors must follow should they be granted entry to the facility. 

Patients who are admitted must have their visits scheduled with a member of the care team, individuals who are attending outpatient appointments will be asked if they require an essential visitor at the time of booking their appointment or treatment, while each inpatient can only have one essential visitor per one hour visiting block, as scheduled by the care team. 

All essential visitors will be screened at the hospital entrance. If screening is failed, the essential visitor will not be allowed to enter the hospital. All visitors who fail the screening will be given further advice for testing and monitoring. Anyone entering the hospital is being encouraged to wear their own face masks, should they choose not to do so a disposable mask will be provided to them. Essential visitors will be restricted from moving freely around the hospital, and they do not have in/out privileges, instead they must proceed to the area where they are visiting a patient. 

The hospital has posted a schedule notifying individuals when they could visit the hospital. D Wing is taking visits on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. E Wing is taking visits on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. F Wing is taking visits on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The coronary care unit (24 hours per day), obstetrics (24 hours per day), ambulatory care (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), emergency department (24 hours a day) and diagnostic imaging (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) departments all open daily. 

“We hope to, at some point, be able to fully open up visiting again, but we aren’t quite there yet. There are no timelines in place yet. I wish I had a crystal ball, but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes, look at the data in the community, and see what’s happening with the numbers,” Ms. Delahunt said. 

There has been another positive for the hospital in recent weeks. Since moving ahead with scheduling surgeries and procedures on June 15, Headwaters hospital has completed 69 elective surgeries, 84 endoscopy cases and 35 cystoscopies.

Elsewhere, at the on-site COVID-19 Assessment Centre, hospital staff have now carried out 9,476 tests. 

“We have been averaging over 100 visits daily over the past few weeks, with some days seeing over 200 visits,” Ms. Delahunt said. “Ever since the provincial push on making sure we screen anyone and everyone, we’ve seen a huge increase in visits. We continue to see a lot of people, which is a good thing.”

Regarding active cases of COVID-19 at the local hospital, Ms. Delahunt confirms there were two patients admitted last weekend that tested positive for coronavirus – but it wasn’t something, necessarily, for the community to worry about. 

“They didn’t come to the hospital because of COVID-19, they came for other reasons. There was a long-term care individual who tested positive, but we’re not sure if they were positive before, have been cleared and there’s still remnants,” Ms. Delahunt said. “So, while we do have two positive cases in the hospital right now, they are not being treated for COVID-19. They are being treated for other issues. They are currently on the patient unit and are recovering well.”

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