As the incidence of COVID-19 has increased in Aitkin County in recent weeks, Riverwood Healthcare Center has again made some adjustments to its restricted visitor policy for COVID-19 safety precautions.
- For those hospitalized patients who are critically ill or in the ICU, only one visitor may be allowed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Labor and Delivery patients may have one visitor age 18 or older with no time restrictions. No child visitors will be allowed at this time. The nursing staff can help hospital patients arrange face-to-face video visits with their loved ones via Zoom with iPads we recently purchased.
- For Surgical Services patients one adult visitor may be allowed, except for these outpatient procedures: colonoscopy, endoscopy/EGD, ophthalmology/eye surgery or interventional pain. Limiting visitors is necessary to allow for social distancing in the surgical waiting space. Compassionate exceptions may be allowed depending on the situation.
- For those patients requiring emergency care, family members/visitors are asked to wait in their cars and are given a communication card to fill in with their contact information for the ER staff to call them with updates. One family member may be allowed into the ER depending on the individual circumstances, including end-of-life care.
- For clinic appointments, if necessary due to mental or physical disability or other health-related factors, one person (spouse, parent of a minor or healthcare decision-maker) may escort a patient to their outpatient/clinic appointment. Others who are accompanying patients are asked to wait in their vehicle whenever possible to limit the number of people and potential exposure to illness in our facilities.
Those who are sick or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are not allowed to visit patients. All visitors to hospital and clinics will be screened for symptoms and COVID-19 risk at each visit. Everyone – including patients, visitors and staff – is required to wear a mask when entering a Riverwood facility. Mask exceptions will be made for those with breathing difficulties and children under age 5.
Virtual visits encouraged
To limit the number of patients in our facilities and potential exposure to COVID-19, Riverwood is again transitioning to doing more virtual video visits instead of in-person clinic visits whenever possible. Those who call for medical appointments will be advised about virtual appointment options. For those who lack a digital device (computer, tablet or smartphone), phone visits with providers can also be arranged.
“Telehealth virtual video visits continue to be well received by our patients when we introduced this service in April, and this is a great option to keep our patients and staff safe during the pandemic and the upcoming flu season,” said Dan Schletty, director of ambulatory services at Riverwood. “Telehealth has also allowed us to enhance access and remove barriers, such as transportation, for many of our patients. We understand there are times when an in-person clinic visit is more appropriate to meet the needs of our patients. The safety measures we have implemented allow us to safely provide in-person care for not only clinic visits but also labs, radiology, outpatient and surgical services. We appreciate the understanding of all who are needing to make adjustments as we aim to ensure safety and wellness for all.”