BHB restricts visitation to protect patients, staff and supplies

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the introduction of visitor restrictions to all BHB facilities, KEMH, MWI and group homes, in an effort to safeguard patients against potential COVID-19 infections in the community, and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and gowns for frontline staff at a time of global shortage.

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, comments: “We do not take this step lightly, as we recognize the power of family in visiting people when they are unwell, or vulnerable. But we also have to acknowledge that a COVID-19 infection can be much more serious and deadly for seniors and people with existing medical conditions – and these are the people we care for.”

The restrictions across all facilities are effective immediately and are as follows:

  • For general acute care patients, long term care and residential units, only immediate family/carers will be allowed to visit.
  • For patients on isolation (wherever they are), only one visitor will be allowed, once per day.

BHB offers free wi-fi for patients and visitors, so strongly recommends that anyone in hospital brings or is given a smart phone or mobile device by their loved ones with video messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Skype, etc.

Dr Michael Richmond, Chief of Staff, explains: “We apologise to people who want to visit their loved ones, but hope they understand we must put our patients and staff first.  Many people do not get seriously ill from COVID-19 or have no symptoms at all, so we anticipate someone could inadvertently visit their loved one and infect them. Additionally, we need to preserve personal protective equipment in the face of global shortages. We are preparing in case COVID-19 is an issue for many months, or longer. Our expectation is that we may have to close visiting at some point if COVID-19 spreads locally, but this balance gives patients and residents some access to the love and support of their families, while reducing the risks of exposure and preserving personal protective equipment.”

People are reminded not to visit their loved ones if they feel unwell with fever, dry cough, trouble breathing or any other symptoms. They should also not visit if they have returned from overseas, or been in contact with someone with the above symptoms, in the last 14 days.

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Notes to Editors
The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda's second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world's leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit www.bermudahospitals.bm or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at publicrelations@bhb.bm.