To help ensure a quieter and safer environment for its patients, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH) is introducing a new visitation policy, effective tomorrow.
The policy is the end result of several months of in-depth discussion and planning on the part of one of LCRH’s process and satisfaction improvement teams. The team has met on a regular basis over the past half-year, researching visiting policy “best practices” of other hospitals from throughout the state, and adapting those ideas to best serve the needs of the Somerset hospital’s patients.
The updated policy is designed to provide “our patients with the opportunity to rest and recover in comfortable, quiet, safe surroundings while enabling family and friends to participate in their care.”
While daytime visitation of patients will remain essentially the same — inviting individuals to visit their loved ones anytime between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. — visitation after 9 p.m. will be limited.
The changes in visitation are partly in response to comments on patient satisfaction surveys. An independent third party organization surveys LCRH patients on an ongoing basis to determine the patient’s level of satisfaction with their care. Two of the subjects covered on the survey: how safe patients feel, and if the hospital has a quiet/restful environment were areas of concern as reported by a number of patients.
The main components of the updated policy include:
• General visitation is from 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
• No visitation is allowed after 9 p.m. Exceptions may be made with authorization from the patient’s nurse and/or nurse manager.
• Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to visit patient rooms. Exceptions are made for Maternal/Child Units and under special circumstances with approval of the charge nurse and/or nurse manager in other hospital units.
•Only two visitors are allowed at patient’s bedside at a time.
According to the coordinator of the visitation policy team, Amber Parker, RN, MSN, Cardiac Clinical Services Manager, the team established these adaptations after getting patient input, LCRH team member input and also researching what Lexington hospitals and hospitals in other Kentucky communities of similar size are doing in regard to visitation.
“By doing this research, we were able to determine what seemed to be working well in other hospitals, and what did not work as well,” Ms. Parker said. “Our goal is not to limit the opportunities for patients to spend time with their loved ones, but to provide the same great nursing care we always have in a safer environment for our patients and staff.”
Ms. Parker said that the new visitation policy has the flexibility to be tailored to the needs of each patient.
“While the new policy limits visitation after 9 p.m., there are times when it is important that a family member or friend is able to stay overnight with their loved one,” commented Ms. Parker. “We have made provisions to allow one person to stay under those special circumstances following discussion with the patient’s nurse and/or charge nurse.”
Parker explained that limiting the number of people in the hospital at night will decrease stimulation and will provide an environment that will allow patients to recover and rest in quiet surroundings.
Given the recent history of some unfortunate and sometimes tragic events in healthcare settings in other parts of the country, hospital leaders all across America are becoming increasingly proactive in working to help ensure a safe environment for their patients, doctors and staff.
Beginning Monday, evidence of that will also be visible in the local hospital.
“We already have a partnership with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department to provide a safety officer in our emergency department,” said Robert Parker, LCRH Chief Operating Officer. “And, of course, we have had a security guard on site for quite some time.”
The newest development will be to lock all hospital entrances to incoming traffic, with exception of the emergency department entrance and the parking garage entrance on the first (main) floor at 9 p.m.
“We are adding a second security guard who will be stationed at the parking garage entrance between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. daily,” said Parker. “The guard will help to screen visitors who come to the hospital after visiting hours are over, and will also maintain a log of visitors who have overnight privileges.”
“At any given time, we will be able to tell how many visitors are in the hospital at night, who they are and with whom they are staying,” Parker continued. “This is essential information to have available — not only for traffic control within the hospital — but, also to help keep our visitors safe in the event of an emergency.”
To help ensure a quieter and safer environment for its patients, Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital (LCRH) is introducing a new visitation policy.
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