AHN is keeping close watch on the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and we are preparing accordingly for the potential increase in cases being diagnosed in the US, including the greater western PA region. AHN has taken a number of 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.
Additionally, the Network’s inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) for caregivers has been expanded in anticipation of the potential increased need for those resources. As this situation evolves, we will continue to follow CDC updates and guidance, and work closely with the county and state health departments.
Effective June 9, 2020
Patients can now have one visitor — a healthy support 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. At the same time, our patients’ physical health remains a top priority, and some restrictions apply.
Please carefully review the policy below before visiting a patient at an AHN hospital.
A support person must:
- Be healthy and not have any symptoms of a respiratory illness.
- Accept screenings and provide a valid ID at the hospital entrance.
- Wear a mask at all times and limit travel outside of the patient’s room and waiting areas.
- Please bring your own mask or one will be provided, if necessary.
- Be the dedicated support person throughout the patient’s hospital stay.
- Visitors can not switch out.
- Keep the patient’s other family members and loved ones informed.
- Be 18 years of age or older.
- Visit only during dedicated hours, 9 a.m. – noon or 5 – 8 p.m. Please be aware you are only permitted during one of those time blocks, not both. However, you may stay longer if you’re supporting:
- A woman in labor or postpartum.
- A patient under age 18.
- A patient who is at end-of-life.
- A patient with intellectual, developmental, or cognitive disabilities, communication barriers, or behavioral health concerns.
Our patients’ physical health remains our top priority, and special considerations apply for Coronavirus patients, other targeted clinical areas, and to support appropriate social distancing.
- Coronavirus: For everyone’s safety, no support person is allowed, except for at end-of-life. If at end-of-life, one support person will be assigned a seat in the waiting room to receive frequent updates from the care team.
- End-of-life: Two healthy support persons will stay in a waiting area that accommodates for social distancing.
- Intensive care, same-day surgery, and emergency trauma and surgery: One support person will be allowed to sit in our appropriate waiting areas to allow for social distancing.
- Labor and delivery: One healthy support person is allowed for the duration of the mom’s hospital stay — no switching out of visitors.
- Neonatal intensive care unit: Two healthy support people, one allowed at the baby’s bedside.
- Clergy visitation: This is an approved exception. A clergy member can visit a patient in addition to the dedicated support person.
While we know this policy has challenges, we hope you understand that it is in place for the safety of our patients, visitors, and staff. We encourage you to connect with loved ones through phone calls and video visits, and we’re happy to assist with that where we can.
At AHN, it’s safety first. Always.
If you have an appointment with an AHN doctor, you may now have a loved one join you, with a few requirements.
Your support person will be expected to:
- Wear a mask at all times within the office.
- Have a screening performed if they’re asked.
- Practice safe social distancing, staying at least 6 feet from others.
- Not enter the facility if they are experiencing a cough, fever, or shortness of breath.
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.
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 have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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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.