When your child is an inpatient at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, your main concern is that everyone and everything works together to help your child get better: doctors, nurses, therapists, equipment, medication. Here's something to add to the list: visitation procedures.
The last thing your child needs is to catch the flu or a respiratory infection from someone visiting CHOP. That is why Children's Hospital is asking families to limit the number of visitors coming to see patients during the traditional "sick season" — from Dec. 1 through March 31.
Family members or friends wouldn't knowingly come to the Hospital if they were sick, but they could be spreading germs without even realizing it. People can be contagious with influenza two or three days before they show any symptoms of being ill. The surest way to reduce the chance of someone accidently bringing infection into CHOP is to keep the number of visitors to a minimum.
When a new patient is admitted to CHOP, the child's parents or primary caregivers will designate four healthy people who can visit. The patient's healthy siblings are also allowed to visit. The names will be recorded and available at the Welcome Desk. When people come to see your child, if their names are not listed, they will not be allowed to visit.
"At first it sounded sort of strict," says Tracey Johnson, whose twin teenage sons are frequently hospitalized. "But once the reason were explained, I got on board right away."
Of course, all visitors should be healthy when they come to the Hospital.
Another way Children's Hospital works to keep the flu out of the Hospital is to require all employees who work in any CHOP building where patients are treated to get an influenza vaccination (flu shot). You can feel confident that the maintenance worker you see repairing a dripping faucet has had a flu shot and is doing his part to help keep all patients safe.
CHOP will continue to require all visitors 18 and older — even if they are on your designed list of visitors — to show photo identification as they enter. Sometimes we restrict or deny access to the Hospital based on data provided by law enforcement officials. It's all about keeping our patients safe.
Joel Lutz, who son, William, has been hospitalized several times for surgery, says it best, "Tell me how I can keep my child safe, and I'll help in any way I can."
Date: December 2013