NHRMC Limits Visitation to Minimize Spread of Flu|
WILMINGTON – In order to help prevent the spread of the H1N1 flu, New Hanover Regional Medical Center announced today that it will start restricting visitors under the age of 18 beginning October 7. This is a step being taken by hospitals across the country as rates of infection among children and adolescents continue to grow.
“We’re seeing that children and adolescents are more susceptible to H1N1 flu and are often contagious before they exhibit symptoms,” said Sam Spicer, MD, NHRMC VP of Medical Affairs. “We have a responsibility to protect our patients by limiting their risk as much as possible.”
The policy will affect all New Hanover Regional Medical Center inpatient locations, including the Betty H. Cameron Women’s & Children’s Hospital, Rehabilitation Hospital, Behavioral Health Hospital, Cape Fear Hospital, and Pender Memorial Hospital. Unless the child or teen is a patient, they will not be allowed to visit a patient. Exceptions will be made if the patient is a family member who is critically ill or injured. Such cases must be coordinated with the patient’s caregiver.“We understand how hard this will be for some families who want to have those children visit a new sibling or loved one in the hospital,” said Dr. Spicer. “We wouldn’t take this step if it weren’t necessary to control the spread of the virus.”
The hospitals are also asking adults to not visit if they’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, including a fever with sore throat, coughing, body aches, or headache. Patients who come to the emergency departments or other care areas with those symptoms will be required to wear a mask.
Cases of the H1N1 flu, which first appeared in April, have continued to spread. Unlike the seasonal flu, which causes severe disease mostly in those 65 years and older, illness due to the H1N1 flu occurs primarily among young persons, with the elderly being less vulnerable.
In addition to restricting visitation, NHRMC will suspend programs involving young people in the hospital, including Kangaroo Kapers, a program run by volunteers for boys and girls about to become big brothers and sisters, and programs like Camp Bones.
For more information on the H1N1 virus and the visitation policy, visit www.nhrmc.org.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center is the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, delivering care to all in need, without the support of taxpayer dollars. The medical center takes seriously its responsibility as an economic engine for the community, creating more than 4,500 jobs directly and another 3,000 jobs indirectly.