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  • Due to flu, Community Hospital restricting visitors

Published on October 26, 2009

Due to flu, Community Hospital restricting visitors  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Brenda Moore (831) 625-4544

Communication and Marketing: (831) 625-4505

October 26, 2009

MONTEREY, Calif. - To protect patients, visitors, and staff, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula is implementing new restrictions on visitors during the flu season.

Beginning Wednesday, October 28, all visitors to Community Hospital and its Westland House facility must be 18 years of age or older. Previously, there was no age limit. In addition, patients who have the flu will be permitted to have only two designated visitors per day.

"We know that visits from loved ones are an important part of the healing process," says Steven Packer, MD, president and chief executive officer. "But due to the expected severity of this flu season, we believe these precautions are in the best interest of our patients, staff, volunteers, and visitors to our inpatient facilities. We hope the community understands and helps us achieve this extra level of safety."

The age restriction is being put in place because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that H1N1 (swine) flu is more likely to occur, and to be more serious, among children and young people. People can be infectious even before symptoms appear, so we are taking this extra precaution to protect patients, visitors, and staff.

The restriction on the number of visitors to patients with the flu is being made to reduce the chances of infection and to preserve resources such as masks. Anyone who enters the

room of a patient with H1N1 flu must wear a special mask. Due to increased demand for masks, manufacturers are having trouble keeping up with orders.

"Hospitals around the country are implementing similar restrictions as we all work to control the spread of flu," Packer says. "Like other hospitals, Community Hospital is experiencing an increase in patients with the flu or flu-like symptoms, so we feel it is important to take these steps."

The visitor limitations will be evaluated throughout the flu season and eliminated when they are no longer considered necessary. Exceptions will be made in special circumstances, such as when a visit is deemed critical because of the patient's condition. Families who anticipate such a situation are asked to call the hospital and speak with the administrative supervisor or call Westland House and speak to the charge nurse before visiting.

In general, Community Hospital asks that people who are ill do not visit patients and offers these guidelines to stay well or get well during the flu season:

Prevention: Your key to staying healthy

Get vaccinated with both types of flu shots (pandemic and seasonal flu).

Keep your hands clean with hand sanitizer or soap and water.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs are spread this way.

Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people with flu-like illness.

Symptoms

The symptoms of pandemic H1N1 flu virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include the following:

Fever (temperature of 100 degrees F. or above)

Cough

Sore throat

Runny or stuffy nose

Body aches

Headache

Chills

Fatigue

Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur

If you are ill

Stay home, drink plenty of liquids, and rest.

Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Cough into your elbow rather than covering your mouth with your hands or use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Clean your hands.

Keep away from others as much as possible.

Visit with friends by phone.

Avoid travel if you are sick.

Do not go to work or school until 24 hours after your fever is gone.

Seeking medical attention

Most people recover without medical care. However, you should consult with your doctor or go to an urgent care clinic promptly if you experience any of the following warning signs:

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Pain or pressure in the chest

Severe or persistent vomiting

Confusion

Flu symptoms improve but then return and worsen

The hospital Emergency department should be used when emergency-level care is needed.

Where to get vaccines

Community Hospital does not provide vaccines to outpatients. For availability, please check with:

Your doctor

Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association, 648-3777

Monterey County Department of Health, 796-1280

Your local pharmacy

Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, marking its 75th anniversary this year, has grown and evolved in direct response to the changing healthcare needs of the people it serves. It is a nonprofit healthcare provider with 205 staffed acute-care hospital beds and 28 skilled-nursing beds, delivering a continuum of care from birth to end of life, and every stage in between. It serves the Monterey Peninsula and surrounding communities through 15 locations, including the main hospital, outpatient facilities, satellite laboratories, a mental health clinic, a short-term skilled nursing facility, Hospice of the Central Coast, and business offices. Find more information about Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula at www.chomp.org