Helen Keller Hospital changes caregiver policy amid COVID-19 increase

Helen Keller Hospital changes caregiver policy amid COVID-19 increase

SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - COVID-19 cases remain high in Colbert County and more patients are filling Helen Keller Hospital.

The hospital is responding to the new cases with a policy change.

Along with doctors and nurses, caregivers are an essential part of a patient’s recovery.

“Caregivers are an important part of hospital care at any hospital. We have patient safety goals that we try to accomplish with every patient and the caregiver associated with those patients who are typically family members really help and support that,” said Hellen Keller Hospital President Kyle Buchanan.

But with COVID cases steadily rises and the increase in hospital cases prompted Helen Keller hospital to take a more stern approach to protect its employees, patients and caregivers.

“We have had situations in which caregivers have come in and out and one or two of those caregivers have figured out they were COVID positive. So, as we do our contact tracing and backtrack through that fortunately we didn’t find any cases where the disease was transmitted through the hospital,” said Buchanan.

The new caregiver policy was released this week.

“It was just too close for us to be comfortable for our patients. So again, that’s why we had to take that step,” said Buchanan.

Now only one caregiver is allowed per patient.

The caregiver must also remain with the patient for the duration of the hospital stay.

If the caregiver leaves for any reason, he or she won’t be allowed to re-enter the hospital.

“We have to make sure we keep our patients safe. Again we’ve had some really close calls in the last two weeks that have really forced us to take this step,” said Buchanan. “So I just ask them to bear with us. It’s uncomfortable, but we just want to make sure we keep them safe and get them home safely to their families.”

This caregiver policy only applies to patients not diagnosed with COVID-19. Those being treated for the virus are now allowed any visitors.

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