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Hershey Medical Center loosens coronavirus restrictions on visitors

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Penn State Health has revised its patient visitation rules so that COVID-negative patients are allowed to have a designated family member or support person accompany them under specific guidelines.

The revised policy “recognizes the important role of family within the patient care team,” according to a press release from Penn State Health, which includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

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Family or support persons — defined as having a biological, legal or emotional relationship with the patient — are not considered visitors and will be allowed to be on-site to facilitate patient- and family-centered care, the release said. Family or support persons must be 18 years of age or older, unless they are the parent of a pediatric patient or the partner of a laboring patient.

Under the revised policy, adult patients who are inpatient or having outpatient surgery will be permitted one family or support person per day. Patients who require moderate sedation and a responsible driver for outpatient procedures will also be permitted one family or support person to accompany them.

Because of space limitations, family or support persons will not be permitted to be with adult patients in emergency departments. Outpatient clinic space limitations and guidelines for social distancing may not allow for a family or support person at some locations. Patients may contact their appointment locations for information.

Pediatric inpatients are permitted one parent or guardian per day. Additionally, one parent or guardian may accompany the pediatric patient for all outpatient surgeries and procedures ― except for within the operating room ― as well as emergency department and outpatient clinic visits.

For labor and delivery, one support person is permitted per patient for the entire duration of the stay.

All family or support persons who wish to enter any Penn State Health facility will be screened; no one with COVID-19 symptoms will be permitted to enter, the release said. Everyone entering the facilities will also be required to wear a mask and maintain appropriate social distancing guidelines.