Family and guest information for Augusta University Health staff during COVID-19 outbreak

Outside of a hospital.
Augusta University Medical Center

To protect our patients, families, employees and the community during the outbreak of COVID-19, Augusta University Health has put measures in place to address the presence of family, friends and community until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

Until further notice, with approval for the following exceptions, one family member, care partner or guest may be with an adult patient, or two primary caregivers with a pediatric patient:

  • Person who is in serious or critical condition or in hospice care
  • Person at end of life (guest may make request to nurse manager for additional family presence)
  • Person in Emergency Department
  • Mother in labor
  • Children who are 21 years of age or under (both primary caregivers permitted)
  • Adult patients with cognitive, physical or mental disability requiring help with the provision of medical care or activities of daily living, speaking for the patient and keeping patient safe
  • Person undergoing surgery
  • Person requiring an outpatient test or procedure where companion is required for support
  • People who must exercise power of attorney or court-appointed guardianship for a patient
  • People performing official governmental functions

Additional exception requests are determined on a case-by-case basis.

For those family/guests approved for access, special guidance is as follows:

To help prevent the spread of infection:

  • Family/guest must remain in the patient’s room at all times, except for quick trips to the restroom or to purchase food. For ease and to limit movement around the building, guest meal trays are ideal for purchase/delivery to the patient’s room.
  • Limit the number of personal items brought into the hospital. Bringing fewer items into the hospital reduces the number of unwanted germs.
  • When leaving the hospital, family should not wander through hallways or spend time in public areas, including lobbies, waiting areas, cafeterias and vending areas.
  • Individual is screened for symptoms of respiratory illness (fever, runny nose, cough and shortness of breath) prior to entering facility and a sticker is to be worn indicating health screening has been conducted. “AU Health” sticker must be visible. Anyone with a positive health screen may not visit and is directed to the proper resources if suspected of having COVID-19.
  • All must wash hands or use hand sanitizer every time when entering or exiting a patient room.
How can family and friends stay in touch with their loved one?

We recommend that family/guests connect with their loved one and their health care team through technology when possible. Hospital phones are available in patient rooms. Loved ones may also use their personal phones, computers and tablets to stay connected through audio and video chatting and texting. At the entrances, “Thinking of You” cards are available that designated staff can take to loved one.

Are children able to visit?

No. If there is a special situation (e.g., end of life), please get approval from the appropriate nurse director or nurse supervisor.

How your loved ones are safely cared for during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Employees wash or sanitize their hands each time they enter and exit a patient’s room. They also wear personal protection equipment (gown, gloves, face shields or goggles) when they enter the room of a patient with an infectious illness. Employees safely dispose of these items before going into the next patient room to keep clothing free from germs so they may safely care for other patients. AU Health is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and screening protocols and following infection control prevention best practices. We are also remaining in close communication with state and county public health officials to monitor the spread of the virus.

Please know that all hospitals and health systems regularly prepare for disease outbreaks, conduct regular preparedness drills and are able to adapt quickly to infectious disease outbreaks. We are always training our staff on how to protect patients and themselves as they care for patients.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these uncertain times and for your dedication to taking care of our patients and families.

For the latest updates, please visit the university’s dedicated COVID-19 resource page.

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Danielle Harris
Written by
Danielle Harris

Danielle Harris is Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact her to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-721-7511 or deharris1@augusta.edu.

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Danielle Harris Written by Danielle Harris

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