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Danville -- As Geisinger moves to safely resume operations and provide more services at clinics, hospitals, and outpatient centers, the health system has updated its visitation policy again.

Visitations will remain limited, but the revised policy allows two visitors for most patients and permits doulas to accompany those giving birth.

The health and safety of patients, staff, visitors and the community remain the top priority for Geisinger when considering its visitation policy. Family and friends are still encouraged to find alternatives ways of visiting such as phone calls, Facetime, Skype, and other means when possible.

The update allows hospitalized adult patients two designated visitors who should not change throughout the hospital stay. These two visitors can visit twice a day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. Visits can last up to two hours during each time period.

Under the updated policy, a certified doula is permitted to accompany a delivering mother, along with the mother’s support person. The doula is considered part of the expectant mother’s care team. They will be screened before entering Geisinger facilities and are required to wear a mask and follow all other policies and procedures when caring for a patient. If the doula tests positive for COVID-19, they may continue to support the patient virtually, but may not visit the patient on-site.

Additional visitation updates are as follows:

  • All inpatients on acute psychiatric units (one designated visitor during visiting hours specific to the unit)
  • Patients who are medically unstable (two designated visitors)
  • Patients who are at the end of life but not COVID-positive or under investigation for COVID (two visitors)
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures (one single-time visitor immediately after the procedure)
  • Delivering mothers (one support person, plus a certified doula as part of the care team)
  • Patients who are minors and those with limited decisional capacity (up to two parents or guardians)
  • Patients who have altered mental status, an intellectual, developmental or cognitive disability or a communication barrier (two visitors)
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care (one visitor)
  • ED patients (one designated visitor)

Approved visitors are subject to the following guidelines:

  • Be 18 years of age or older and in good health
  • Bring a form of identification
  • Not have symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, recent loss of taste or smell or flu-like illness suggestive of COVID-19
  • Not have active COVID-19 infection
  • Be symptom-free for at least 14 days if they previously had active COVID-19 infection
  • Complete health screening, including a temperature check, at the entrance before entry
  • Must bring and wear their own masks at all times while in the facility
  • Respect social distancing guidelines of 6 feet from all others
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entering and after leaving a patient’s room
  • Use the same entrance for entry into and exit from the hospital.
  • Identify themselves and stay in designated areas (not travel throughout the facility)

Patients who have an appointment at a Geisinger clinic, laboratory or radiology may have one person accompany them, if necessary.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.