The rapid spread of seasonal influenza (the flu) in our community and throughout the state of Virginia has prompted Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center – and other healthcare providers across the country – to take special measures to protect patients, families, staff and visitors.
Because it is difficult to determine who may be infected with influenza – people can be contagious before they start showing symptoms of flu – these policy changes apply to all visitors to our hospital throughout the flu season.
To take the best care of our patients, visitors and staff during flu season and to honor our commitment to always keep you safe, the following policies will be in effect until the end of the flu season:
- As part of our mission to improve health every day, it is our duty to limit potential exposure to patients, staff and visitors.
- Adults only (ages 18 & older) may visit patients.
- Visitors with any symptoms of flu-like illness are encouraged not to visit patients.
- Siblings under the age of 18 may not visit. Please do not bring children to the hospital unless they are coming for treatment or a surgical procedure.
- For Pediatrics and Post-Partum other restrictions apply.
- It is strongly recommended that all outpatients and visitors wear masks while at our facility. Even if you’ve received the flu vaccine, we strongly recommend wearing a mask as the vaccine is not 100% effective and it is our duty to limit exposure to patients, staff and visitors.
According to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center President, Megan Perry, this temporary policy was put in place to protect the health of hospital patients, employees and visitors.
“Our number one priority is to always keep our patients safe,” says Perry. “It is imperative to protect those who are especially vulnerable, such as pregnant women, newborns and those with compromised immune systems, from the spread of flu. We understand that this may cause an inconvenience for families, but we believe that it’s in everyone’s best interest to implement this policy. We very much appreciate the community’s understanding and cooperation in keeping our patients, staff and visitors safe and healthy.”
According to Dr. David Schwartz, vice president of Medical Affairs at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, prevention is key to limiting the spread of flu.
“The best way to prevent the spread of flu is to get a flu shot, wash your hands frequently and stay away from anyone who is already sick,” says Dr. Schwartz. “Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which is the most common way germs are transferred from one person to another.”
Dr. Schwartz says that it is not too late to get a flu shot. Those who come down with flu-like symptoms should stay home and avoid contact with other people.
For more information about the Flu, visit cdc.gov/flu.
Note: There may be exceptions to this policy in certain very limited circumstances, such as situations where a patient is at the end of life. In cases where exceptions are made, it will be at the discretion of the physician and hospital leadership.