Your healthcare facility’s flu season policy requires a lot of consideration. Use these tips for creating visitor restrictions during flu season.
Influenza can have a devastating effect on patients, healthcare workers, and visitors in your medical practice. To protect everyone and decrease the likelihood of infection during flu season, it’s important to create a policy that outlines visitor restrictions. Use these tips for creating visitor restrictions during flu season.
Set Limits Based on Age and Number of Visitors
Children under the age of 12 are less likely to exhibit symptoms of a flu infection. For this reason, many healthcare facilities choose to restrict children from visiting, even up to the age of 18.
While everyone touches their faces often, thereby increasing the spread of illness, children especially spread germs easily. Kids touch their noses, eyes, and mouths constantly, then touch surfaces and other people frequently. During a season of contagious sickness, it’s best to prevent child visitors.
Depending on your healthcare facility, you might also want to limit the number of visitors. Many practices enforce the rule of having no more than two visitors per patient.
Monitor Unwell Visitors
People infected with the influenza virus easily transmit the flu through coughing and sneezing. Also, people can get the flu from contact with contaminated surfaces.
For this reason, it’s an excellent idea to restrict entry for visitors who are visibly ill or have symptoms of respiratory illness. Some facilities choose to provide these visitors with a face mask.
Consider making an announcement that people should not visit your healthcare facility if they have the following symptoms:
- Runny or congested nose
- Sore throat
- Body aches
Enforce Respiratory Etiquette
At times, a visitor or staff member might need to sneeze or cough. It’s critical that your practice enforces coughing and sneezing etiquette.
The person should cough or sneeze into a tissue, when possible, and immediately throw the tissue away. When tissues are not readily available, people should sneeze or cough into the inside elbows of their shirtsleeves.
Follow Proper Hand Hygiene
Make sure visitors clean their hands frequently. Depending on your facility, you might require them to clean their hands when they enter and exit a patient’s room.
Set up flu prevention stations throughout your healthcare facility; these stations can include hand sanitizer and face masks. Adequately stock every sink with soap, as soap and warm water provide the best cleaning method for flu prevention.
Post Precautions and Restrictions
The final tip for creating visitor restrictions is to post precautions and facility restrictions. It’s critical to share details regarding visitor limits and expectations.
Posting information about best practices for coughing and sneezing is one of the top ways to prepare your practice for flu season. Post your policies online and on signs throughout your facility. Ensure your staff understands the guidelines and knows how to enforce them.
Use language that’s clear, concise, and also caring. By explaining the reasoning behind the restrictions, you can help those who are denied access understand the important reasoning behind your policy.
Protect everyone in your healthcare facility by implementing a visitor restriction policy. Consider age-based restrictions and enforce respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. Communicate your policies online and with signs posted throughout your facility. These steps will help you provide the best quality of care to patients.
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