What’s Changed for Patients and Visitors?

AHN is keeping close watch on the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As this situation evolves, we will continue to follow CDC updates and guidance, and work closely with the county and state health departments.

AHN continues to take proactive steps to protect our patients and caregivers, and to prevent potential transmission of the virus, including enhanced patient screening practices and clinical protocols at AHN emergency departments, surgery centers, and physicians’ practices.

Information related to changes for patients and visitors

Until further notice these policies take the place of any previously published patient and visitor information at all of AHN’s hospitals, facilities, and offices.
 

AHN visitation policy

Patients can now have one visitor — a healthy person.

We understand how important having a loved one around can be for a patient’s recovery, and we’re happy to welcome back that support.

Except in limited circumstances, patients are only allowed to have one visitor in the facility at a time, but unlike before, that visitor can change. For example, a patient’s sibling can visit in the afternoon, and a patient’s spouse can visit in the evening.

While we hope these changes allow for a better experience, our patients’ physical health remains a top priority. Carefully review the policy below before visiting a patient.

Visitor rules

All visitors, including support people, are expected to:

  • Visit during set visitation hours: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. (See exceptions below.)
  • Present valid identification when entering the hospital and be over the age of 18.
  • Accept a Coronavirus screening and not be experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath.
  • Wear a mask at all times. Please bring your own, or one will be provided.
  • Stay within designated areas — either the patient’s room or specific waiting areas.

Special considerations

We understand that some patients have unique needs, and we’ve done everything we can to accommodate those. For all circumstances listed, clergy visitation is allowed in addition to any noted visitor and support people.

Visitation is allowed outside of the standard 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM window for these areas:

  • Labor and Delivery
  • Patients who are under the age of 18
  • Patients who have intellectual, developmental, or cognitive disabilities, communication barriers, or behavioral concerns
  • End-of-life patients
  • Day of surgery
  • Day of discharge

Additional visitation exceptions:

For the safety of others, we are not permitting visitors for patients with coronavirus unless they need a support person as described below under 'Support Persons'.

Labor and delivery

  • In addition to one visitor, one doula is allowed as part of the care team.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU)

  • One set of parents, or guardians, can visit with a patient in a NICU or designated waiting area.

End-of-life care

  • Two visitors can stay with a non-Coronavirus patient or in a designated waiting area.
  • One visitor can stay with a Coronavirus patient or in a designated waiting area.

Emergency department

  • One visitor is allowed to wait in a designated area. The person may be allowed in the patient’s room, but only when directed by hospital staff, or if needed for support purposes as noted below.
  • Note: If patient or visitor volumes prevent proper social distancing, changes may be made.

Surgery, outpatient diagnostic, and ambulatory services

  • One visitor is allowed to wait in a designated area.
  • Note: If patient or visitor volumes prevent proper social distancing, changes may be made.

Support Persons

  • Any patient with intellectual, development or cognitive
    disabilities, communication barriers or behavioral issues who needs an advocate or communicator to assist with the delivery of his or her care is entitled to have access to one support person to provide this assistance.

Yes, these restrictions have their limitations, but protecting our patients and care teams is — and will always be — our number one priority.

Because at AHN, it’s safety first. Always.

ahn-safety-waiting-room

Hospital cafeterias are now open to visitors

We are happy to announce that our hospital cafeterias are now reopen to serve visitors.

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Safety guidelines for all appointments

If you have an appointment with an AHN doctor at an office or outpatient facility, you may now bring one visitor along with you.

Support person rules:

  • Present valid identification when entering the facility and be over the age of 18.
  • Accept a Coronavirus screening and not be experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, or shortness of breath.
  • Wear a mask at all times. Please bring your own, or one will be provided.
  • Stay within designated areas — either the patient’s room or specific waiting areas.
  • Visitors may be required to wear additional PPE. 

As our offices implement heightened disinfecting and protection measures, keep in mind that each space operates differently. Safety precautions may vary from one location to another and could change daily based on patient volume. Please work with us to help keep our patients, guests, and staff healthy and safe.

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Elective surgeries continue at AHN

AHN is moving forward in a careful, safe, and structured manner to meet the comprehensive surgical needs of our patients, including medically urgent cases and many other procedures that were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Classes and events

We are committed to the health and safety of our patients, visitors, and staff. In accordance with precautions being taken to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, virtual instructor led classes are now available. These classes may include an up front cost to pay online while registering for the class of your choice. Continue to check this web page for updates on virtual classes and the potential future reintroduction of in person classes & events at AHN locations.

     VIEW ALL CLASSES AND EVENTS

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AHN protocols, screening, and training

As of early February, AHN has implemented its Pandemic Response Policy. This includes screening protocols established by CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and DOH (Pennsylvania Department of Health), care protocols, instructional signage for patients, screening questions for physicians in our health record system, and outreach to our pre-hospital care providers. The details are below.

  • The enhanced screening processes have been implemented at all access points across the health network, including emergency departments, surgery centers, urgent care clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physician practices, home health services and internal employee health offices, and Call Center, as well as through its 24/7 Nurse Line service.
  • Consistent CDC recommended protocols have been implemented across AHN’s hospitals for the care of patients presenting to emergency departments with suspected respiratory infectious disease, including placement of the patient in negative pressure rooms and use of PPE (personal protective equipment) by all caregivers and visitors to the patient. Specimens are being collected according to recommended guidelines and sent to the CDC for COVID-19 testing.
  • Signage has been placed at the entrances to all emergency departments and in other AHN facilities asking patients to put on a protective mask upon arrival if they are experiencing flu like symptoms.
  • Modifications have been made to AHN’s electronic health record system (Epic) to incorporate screening questions based on current CDC guidelines at all points of intake for all patients.
  • AHN caregivers are being trained or retrained in the use of personal protective equipment and are being communicated to routinely, in writing and directly through their supervisors, about the importance of following the enhanced patient screening and care protocols.
  • AHN is working with both its employed pre-hospital care providers and local EMS service partners to promote the same enhanced patient screening protocols for home entries. It’s also doing the same for thousands of independent but affiliated physician practices in the western Pennsylvania region through its Clinically Integrated Network.

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Contact us

If you have any additional concerns, please reach out to our 24/7 Nurse Line at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348

Coronavirus Resources

AHN is actively involved in helping the people it serves learn about and protect themselves from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn where to go, what to do, and when.