BHB to ease visiting restrictions starting Wednesday

Tuesday 2 November 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) will allow limited visitation beginning Wednesday 3 November 2021. This follows a period of highly restricted access to the hospitals due to the recent COVID-19 delta surge.

In tandem with increased visitation, BHB’s disaster alert level will be reduced on Wednesday from 3 to 2. Some elective surgeries are taking place this week, with a gradual increase planned over the next few weeks.

CEO Michael Richmond, MD, said: “This surge has been a long and brutal one for our patients, the community and our staff. Thankfully with fewer COVID-19 patients in the hospital we have been able to close down the satellite areas we created to manage the surge in hospitalisations. Those areas, and the employees who staffed them, have now returned to their normal purpose. We know this will come as a great relief to the patients whose surgeries had to be postponed while we dealt with the worst of the surge.”

Chief of Nursing Judy Richardson said: “While we’re not able to go back to normal quite yet, the steady decrease in COVID-19 hospitalisations and continued reduction in community cases mean we can relax our visiting restrictions.

“We know that seeing loved ones can be great for our patients’ mental and physical health. It can also positively contribute to patient safety and quality of care. Conversely, having to restrict visitation takes a toll on everyone involved – patients, their families and even our staff.”

In most cases, acute care and long-term care patients will be able to have one or two visitors at a time starting Wednesday. Patients in the Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre will be allowed to bring a support person. Complete details are listed below and on the BHB website at bermudahospitals.bm.

VP Clinical Operations (Acute and Ambulatory) Norma Smith added: “We are all looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the hospitals. The last two months have been very difficult for patients and their loved ones. Our nurses and aides have tried to provide as much comfort as possible, but there’s no real substitute for a visit from a family member or friend.

“Please remember, though, that we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to COVID-19. We ask that you follow all precautions when you visit – including masking, hand washing and physical distancing. Please also adhere to the restrictions that are still in place so we can ensure everyone remains safe.

“If you have any questions about visiting your loved ones, please contact their unit clinical manager, the nurse in charge or the evening/night clinical manager by calling 236-2345.”

Mrs Richardson said: “I’d like to say a special thank you to our patients and the community for bearing with the restrictions and supporting us through this extremely difficult and heart-breaking surge. My thoughts are with those of you who have lost loved ones since the start of the pandemic, and those who have fallen ill.”

The following precautions must be followed when visiting any BHB service:

  • Visitors must be masked at all times, including in patient rooms
  • Visitors must maintain physical distancing at all times, including in patient rooms
  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19 or any other infection will not be allowed to visit
  • If someone has travelled, they should not visit or attend the hospitals with loved ones until they have completed their Government post-travel testing requirements with all negative tests
  • For infection control purposes, visitors will not be allowed to use patient bathrooms and will need to use public restrooms on each floor
  • Overnight stays are not allowed at this time, other than in exceptional circumstances

 Visiting Restrictions from Wednesday 3 November 2021

 Acute care patients in the Acute Care Wing units (Ace Barber, Ascendant Partner Re, Catlin Lindo): Patients who are not on isolation can have up to two visitors in their room at any one time between noon and 8pm.

 Acute care patients in the General Wing (Curtis Unit): As these rooms are smaller and have other patients in them, acute care patients in the General Wing (Curtis Unit) can have one visitor in their room at any one time between noon and 8pm.

 Isolation patients: For patients on isolation due to a known infection of any kind, or in the first 24 hours of admission while waiting for results of the required COVID-19 test, two designated support people pre-identified by the patient will be able to visit for up to two hours per day.

 Intensive Care Unit: Designated support people may visit for two hours between 10am and 2pm, or 4pm and 8pm. Visitors must be on the ICU visitors list.

 Maternity:

  • One designated support person may stay up to 8 hours after the birth
  • If the mother is not discharged within 24 hours, the one designated support person will be allowed to visit between noon and 8pm
  • Doulas will be allowed for the birth with the designated support person
  • Doulas can make postpartum visits once per day between noon and 8pm

 Gosling Unit:

  • Up to two parents may visit minor patients
  • Adult patients can have up to two designated visitors between noon and 8pm

 Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute Acute Inpatient Care (adult, child and adolescent services):

  • Pre-identified support people can visit for 30 minutes each day between noon and 6pm
  • Support people must check in at the front desk
  • One person can visit at any one time and visitation will be in a public space, such as a family conference room

 Long Term Care (KEMH and MWI), including Group Homes:

  • One designated support person can visit for up to two hours each day between noon and 6pm. Isolated patients cannot have visitors.

 Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre:

  • Patients will be allowed one support person while in the Emergency Department (ED)
  • Vulnerable individuals and children will be allowed up to two support people
  • For end-of-life cases up to two support people can attend
  • Please note if someone dies in the ED or is brought to the hospital after passing away, only one person and one support person for that individual can attend. Up to three people can be in the ED family room. Other family and friends should not attend as there is not adequate space to gather safely, and the ability to offer viewings very limited.

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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.