Hospitals reduce visitation, deny elective surgeries


Several area hospitals have increased their visitor restrictions and even postponed elective surgeries to make room and preserve resources for a potential influx in patients due to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.


Effective March 17, Ascension St. Vincent canceled all elective, non-urgent surgeries at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis. The hospital also has increased its visitor restrictions. All patients and visitors at Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis are directed to enter via Door 1 only, and all patients at Ascension St. Vincent Women’s Hospital will enter through the main entrance. All patients and visitors will be screened for the presence of fever and respiratory symptoms. Visitors also will be screened if they reside in a county where positive cases have been identified. For inpatient surgeries, patients having the surgery will be allowed one visitor upon arrival for their procedure. Once the procedure is complete, the visitor will exit the hospital. Virtual communication will be allowed. For patients having outpatient surgery, one visitor will be allowed to stay with the patient until the patient is discharged. For patients having pediatric surgery, children 17 and younger will have one parent or guardian stay with them post procedure. Visitors will not be allowed to see patients with COVID-19 unless it is an end-of-life situation.

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Community Health Network announced it would tighten its visitor restrictions March 13. Visitors are not allowed at Community Hospital North, Community Hospital East, Community Hospital South, Community Heart and Vascular Hospital, Community Behavioral Health, Community Howard Regional Health and Community Hospital Anderson. However, exceptions will be considered for the following areas where patients will be allowed one visitor per room: the NICU, OB/delivery, pediatrics, the emergency department, inpatient surgery for the day of surgery only, outpatient surgery, outpatient provider appointments, end of life situations, behavioral health treatment/discharge planning, discharge plan coaching on the day of discharge only.

Community Health Network also has postponed its elective, non-urgent surgeries. It has designated a call center if someone believes they have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it. For Indianapolis-area patients, the number is 317-621-5500.

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Indiana University Health has increased visitor restrictions to protect patients and prevent further spreading. As of March 15, no visitors were permitted to IU Health hospitals. Exceptions will be considered for the following areas, in which one visitor will be permitted: The NICU, OB/delivery, pediatrics, the emergency department, outpatient surgery and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health (one parent/guardian per patient. For end-of-life situations, two visitors will be allowed per patient. Also, one visitor will be allowed to accompany a patient being directly admitted to the hospital at the time of admission only.

IU Health has not yet announced if it will postpone elective surgeries or not.

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Riverview Health has increased its visitor restrictions. The restrictions include no visitors with influenza-like symptoms, fever or cough; no visitors under the age of 16 unless special arrangements are made; only one visitor per patient at a time; visitors may only be immediate family or significant others; maternity patients are limited to only one identified support person and no other visitors, regardless of relationship and no visitors are to enter the hospital just for cafeteria use.

The restrictions took effect March 14.

In addition to the restrictions, Riverview Health also has canceled all public seminars and support groups until further notice.

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