NEW YORK (VINnews/Sandy Eller) – As New York continues to slowly work its way back from the restrictions of the pandemic, hospitals statewide will be required to allow visitors under newly released guidance from the New York State Department of Health.
The DOH guidelines went into effect immediately after hospital_visitation_guidance_06072021on June 7th and require hospitals to allow at least one individual over the age of 12 to remain with the patient and provide support to the maximum extent possible.
While hospitals are allowed some leniency in designating the number of visitation hours allowed in various units based on patient condition and circumstances, the state outlined several notable exceptions where more generous visitation policies are mandated.
Women who are giving birth, those in imminent end of life situations and pediatric patients are all allowed to have two visitors present at all times, and in a significant change from COVID policies where only designated individuals were allowed to visit the patient, pediatric visitors will be permitted to rotate. Those with intellectual, developmental and cognitive issues including dementia are permitted to have one support person with them at all times, with a second visitor allowed during the hospital’s regular visiting hours.
The guidelines also allow visitors to be present during childbirth and during procedures involving children, patients with intellectual, developmental and cognitive disabilities and those in imminent end of life situations.
Patients undergoing outpatient hospital procedures may be accompanied by a companion, who will be required to remain in a designated waiting area until the patient is discharged.
Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed the new visitation guidelines on Monday while on a conference call with Jewish community leaders to discuss the recent uptick in anti-Semitic incidents and other issues.
Rabbi David Niederman, founder and CEO of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, applauded Cuomo for his efforts, which have hospitals shifting from allowing visitors at their whim, to being required to allow visitation as mandated by the DOH.
“I told the governor that with all of the things he spoke about, the one I wanted to say thank you for the loudest is the hospital visitation,” Rabbi Niederman told VIN News.
Even as hospital visitation policies are expanded, multiple rules remain in effect in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All visitors, even those who have been vaccinated against COVID, will be required to wear masks at all times and to undergo temperature checks, and they may also be asked to don PPE at the hospital’s discretion. Additionally, visitors will be required to stay in the patient’s room during their visit and must remain socially distant from other patients and staff members.