Friday, September 21st, 2018

Visitor restrictions at Parkview Huntington

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018

The flu has arrived in northeast Indiana. In response to increased flu activity, Parkview Huntington Hospital (PHH) and all Parkview Physicians Group offices in Huntington have implemented visitor restrictions to help protect patients, visitors and co-workers.

Anyone coming into the healthcare facility seeking treatment that has cold or flu-like symptoms (such as fever, cough or muscle aches) should wear a mask while in public areas of the facility, including waiting rooms. No visitors under the age of 18, and no visitors of any age who have flu-like symptoms should be allowed to visit patients. Visitors should be limited to two essential adults (at least 18 years of age) per patient – essential adults could include designated family members, spouse/domestic partner or spiritual counselors. Anyone who is not allergic to the flu vaccine should be vaccinated.

The temporary restrictions have been put in place as part of a systematic effort by Parkview Health and Parkview Physicians Group – in conjunction with local health departments and other area healthcare providers to reduce the spread of flu and protect patients.

“We ask that community members understand that Parkview has implemented these temporary restrictions for the safety of patients,” said Doug Selig, vice president, Patient Care Services, Parkview Huntington Hospital. “If someone is already ill and in the hospital, they really need to be protected from exposure to the flu, which could make them sicker. Precautions like these are currently being taken by hospitals and healthcare facilities in many other affected communities as well.”

As of December 29, 2017, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reports there have been nine influenza-associated deaths in Indiana this flu season. The most common strain of the virus reported so far this season is a version of influenza A (H3N2) which has mutated and is not a good match with the vaccine. In the past, this strain has been linked to higher rates of hospitalization and death, especially for those at high risk for complications, which includes the very young, the elderly and those with chronic health conditions such as asthma or heart problems.

Visitors should call PHH before arriving if they have any questions about the restrictions. In addition to the temporary restrictions on visitors, Parkview Health recommends that all area residents take the following steps to minimize flu transmission.

Residents should get vaccinated. All residents six months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza, pneumonia (if recommended) and pertussis (if recommended) unless there are known allergies to these vaccines. Despite the vaccine’s not being a good match with one of the circulating flu strains, health officials continue to advise residents to get vaccinated against the flu, as it offers protection against other circulating strains and is expected to reduce the severity of illness.

Stay home if you are sick. All residents experiencing fever and muscle aches should stay home from school, work, shopping or other social gatherings until they have had no fever for 24 hours without the benefit of fever-reducing medications. Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and warm water whenever possible; if not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to clean hands. Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wear a mask if needed. Patients with cough or fever who are seeking treatment at a healthcare facility should ask for a mask to wear.

You can get your influenza vaccination by visiting your primary care provider’s office or local pharmacy.