Methodist Le Bonheur changes hospital visitor policy amid ‘improving’ COVID-19 numbers


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thursday, Methodist Le Bonheur modified recent restrictions on its hospital visitor policy.

“We’ve been watching the numbers vigilantly in our community, and we feel at this time, it’s appropriate to loosen those visitor restrictions in the best interest of our patients and our visitors, to modify our visitor policy,” said Dr. Cassandra Howard.

Le Bonheur is painfully aware of the clear and present danger. The hospital is currently treating 78 COVID positive patients, with 37 in the ICU.

But the hospital has decided the improving numbers across the Mid-South give them some discretion to err on the side of compassion.

“There have been some heart wrenching stories that I’ve read personally where the patients are anguishing alone, some hospitalized for the very first time,” Howard said. “COVID is very frightening and concerning for patients, so you can just imagine them alone and not have the presence of a partner there or another loved one or family member.”

One visitor will now be allowed—two or pediatric patients –unless that patient is COVID positive or suspected of being positive.

However, there will be exceptions for end of life.

“End of life is a very difficult time for patients and family, and we’re very sensitive to that,” Howard said. “We would not restrict that patient and that family to one visitor.”

But other restrictions will remain in place. The one designated visitor will remain the same throughout the stay and will still be required to have a successful COVID screening.

They’ll have to remain socially distant in the hospital and be required to wear a mask. They’ll also have to stay in the patient’s room. If they leave the hospital, they won’t be able to return until the next day.

Methodist Le Bonheur is making these changes, in part, because they’re seeing fewer COVID patients now than they were over the last couple of months. However, if that changes, they’ll reserve the right to reinstate the restrictions.

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