Updated Support Person Guidelines
At North Alabama Medical Center, our top priority is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our patients, providers, employees and community, while providing support for our patients. We continue to closely monitor the prevalence of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community and follow state and federal guidance as we adapt our operations to safely care for our patients. Effective Thursday, June 4, 2020, we are easing our support person policy as follows:
- Inpatients will be limited to one well support person per day, during specific hours.
- All visitors must be 16 years of age or older, will be screened upon entry and will be required to wear a mask at all times while in the facility. The support person must provide their own mask.
- Visitors who do not pass the screening at entry will be asked to reschedule their visit until they are symptom-free.
- Visitors are NOT allowed for high-risk, isolation, immunocompromised or respiratory patients who are under observation or test positive for COVID-19.
- We continue to screen everyone who enters our facilities for symptoms consistent with COVID-19, per CDC guidelines.
- Emergency Room patients will be permitted one support person. The support person must remain with the patient while at the hospital.
- Outpatient surgery and cath lab patients will be permitted one support person. The support person must remain in the patient’s room while at the hospital.
- Pre-Admission testing patients and outpatient procedure patients will be permitted one support person. The support person must remain in the lobby during the testing/procedure.
- Support persons should check in and be screened at the main entrance. The Emergency Department entrance will be used only for ER patients and their one support person.
10:00 AM-7:30 PM
Critical Care Patients
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Support person will join the patient when admitted to the hospital and be allowed to stay overnight with the patient.
Support person(s) will join the patient when admitted to the hospital and be allowed to stay overnight with the patient. (Pediatric patients age 10 and under are permitted two support persons.)
Frequently Asked Questions for Patients
Is the hospital clean and safe?
Our hospital is clean and safe – just like it always has been! One of the core elements of properly managing infectious diseases is the cleanliness of our physical facility. Our Environmental Services team uses ultraviolet technology to kill surface spores and disinfects ALL equipment, reception and waiting areas, restrooms, chairs, door handles, elevator buttons and other hard surfaces regularly through the day.
Do you have the supplies and capacity to accommodate my procedure?
Our clinical teams will conduct twice daily “go/no-go” meetings in which they will review crucial supplies such as PPE (personal protective equipment), medications, blood, space and staffing to ensure that we have enough to comfortably care for those undergoing elective/non-urgent procedures and accommodate our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
We are not booking our schedules to full capacity. Out of an abundance of caution and with the conservation of supplies in mind, we are not starting with a full schedule right away. Should things continue to progress positively, we’ll increase our capacity on a week-by-week basis. This is for your safety and ours.
Do you have enough staff to resume elective/non-urgent procedures?
Our team regularly monitors staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for all patients, providers and employees. In addition, we screen all employees daily for COVID-19 symptoms. We are confident that we have the appropriate staff and providers to resume elective and non-urgent procedures while also accommodating our normal emergency care and potential COVID-19 patients.
Will my experience be the same as in the past?
Your experience in our facility may look a little different than in the past, but this is because we have new processes and procedures in place to further protect your health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What should I expect during my procedure?
Upon arrival at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions and required to wear a mask while inside the hospital.
We are operating under a limited support person protocol out of an abundance of caution. When you arrive, you will park and enter through the front lobby. One support person will be allowed to be with you.
You are going to be asked COVID-19 screening questions multiple times by multiple people, up until you are admitted for your procedure. You may get tired of these questions, but we assure you they are for your health and safety, and that of our staff.
You may never see the faces of your care team members under their protective equipment. We do regret this, as the personal connections we have with our patients and community are what keep us going. However, this is an important precaution we are taking to protect you and our clinical staff.
What questions will I be asked during the screening?
The questions are part of our standard COVID-19 screening process and include asking if you have….
- Shortness of Breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Whenever you are asked, please answer these screening questions honestly. If your procedure has to be postponed, it will be just that: postponed. It does NOT mean it will be canceled, and we will work with you to reschedule as soon as possible.
How will I prepare for my procedure?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be asked to practice “safer at home” behaviors for seven (7) days to minimize potential exposure prior to your procedure. This means going a step further from social distancing – trying only to leave your home for critical needs such as groceries or going to the pharmacy. If you need to leave for an essential purpose, you must wear a mask. You also will be asked to check your temperature twice a day during this seven-day period and report any result above 100°F to your provider. Finally, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure as an additional precaution.
If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
Will I be tested for COVID-19?
If you are having a surgical procedure, you will be tested for COVID-19 prior to your procedure. Your provider will place the order for the test, and the hospital will reach out with instructions for scheduling. If your test happens to be positive, your procedure will be postponed, and you will be given instructions related to your care. If you are having an imaging procedure, you will be screened and masked, but not tested for COVID-19.
What happens when I arrive for my procedure?
When you arrive at the facility, you will be asked the same standard screening questions. If you have your own mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose, you can wear that.
Will I be treated near COVID-19 patients?
We are not performing elective/non-urgent procedures on COVID-19 positive patients at this time.
All patients who test positive for an infectious disease, including COVID-19, are isolated for treatment in accordance with state health department and CDC guidelines. Our hospital has a dedicated isolation unit for treatment of patients under investigation and patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Click here for additional Coronavirus Preparedness Information.