Marion County Hospitals to Begin Temporary Hospital Visitor Restrictions

For Immediate Release
December 12, 2014

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Marion County hospitals are joining together to implement temporary visitor restrictions in response to concerns about this year’s flu season. Marion County Public Health Department Director Virginia A. Caine, M.D., requested that restrictions begin Monday, Dec. 15.

Hospitals of all major health systems in Marion County, as part of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, have agreed to implement Tier 1 of the coalition’s Patient Visitation Policy beginning Dec. 15. Tier 1 is the least restrictive option. Participating hospitals in Marion County include those within Community Health Network, Franciscan St. Francis Health, Indiana University Health and St. Vincent Health, as well as Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Richard L. Roudebush V.A. Medical Center.

Restrictions will stay in place until Dr. Caine and the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety determine they are no longer needed based on regular assessments of Marion County flu data and trends.

The Tier 1 option of the patient visitation policy calls for:

  • Restricting visitors with influenza-like illness fever or cough.
  • Restricting visitors under the age of 18.
  • Restricting visitation to immediate family as identified by the patient.

Visitors should call the hospital before arriving if they have any questions about specific restrictions.

“The flu is a contagious virus that can cause significant illness and, in certain cases, lead to hospitalization or death,” said Dr. Caine. “These restrictions serve as a necessary step to help protect patients, visitors and hospital staff from exposure to the flu virus.”

For the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6, Marion County reported 2.69 percent of all hospital emergency department visits countywide, or 291 total visits, with the chief complaint of influenza-like illness (ILI). This is compared to 1.04 percent of emergency department visits, 107 total, for ILI during the same week in 2013.

Currently, Indiana is in the “regional” flu category as monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/).

Dr. Caine urges everyone to get a flu shot. The Marion County Public Health Department offers low-cost flu vaccine at its district health offices. Flu shots are $15 for adults; $10 for kids ages 2-18; and free for children under two years old. For district health office locations and hours, visit www.mchd.com, or call the Flu Hotline at 317-221-2121.

The Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety is comprised of chief executive, medical, nursing, quality, safety and pharmacy officers from six Indianapolis health systems. In addition, there is participation by entities such as Eli Lilly, Indiana and Purdue Universities, Butler University, the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana State Department of Health and the Marion County Public Health Department. The coalition is a non-profit public charity organization.

 

Media Contact:
Curt Brantingham 
Media/Public Information Coordinator 
317-221-2316 (o) │ 317-525-7450 (c)

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