Care New England, South County Hospital implement ‘no visitor’ policies


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Both Care New England and South County Hospital are implementing system-wide “no visitor” policies in response to the coronavirus, one day after the state’s top hospital group announced similar restrictions.

Care New England said Wednesday the policy will be in effect for all of its facilities, which include Kent Hospital, Butler Hospital and Women & Infants Hospital.

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Robin Neale, the director of clinical effectiveness and infection prevention for Care New England, said the hospital’s patients are at an increased risk of serious complications from COVID-19, and its best to prevent the possible transmission of the virus from visitors.

“Patients come into our hospitals when they are made vulnerable by illness,” Neale said in a statement. “They should never need to be concerned that their safety or health is put further at risk when they are with us.”

South County Hospital is implementing a similar “no visitor” policy, according to Aaron Robinson, president and CEO of South County Health.

“We recognize that this policy may create inconvenience for patients and families,” Robinson said. “It is our responsibility to aggressively prevent the transmission of COVID-19, especially in a hospital setting where many individuals are elderly or have compromised immune systems.”

Both Care New England and South County Hospital are not allowing visitors for adult inpatients at this time, however, exceptions will be made at the discretion of hospital leadership.

“We understand this policy will represent a significant hardship for both patients and families,” Neale said. “We do not take this lightly.”

Below are the following exceptions that will be taken into consideration:

  • Emergency Department patients will be allowed one adult caretaker, whose stay will be limited.
  • Obstetric inpatients will be allowed one designated birthing partner during their stay.
  • NICU patients will be allowed only two designated support persons during their stay.

Exceptions will also be made for patients receiving end-of-life care, patients who need a medical decision-maker present and patients who have limited mobility and/or comprehension.

Both hospital groups said the policies are temporary and will be adjusted as new information regarding the virus comes in.

The announcements come nearly 24 hours after Lifespan implemented similar visitation restrictions at its facilities, which include Rhode Island Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Bradley Hospital, Newport Hospital and Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Care New England said a drive-thru coronavirus screening site will be set up near Kent Hospital in the coming days.

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