Healthcare is ever-changing and amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many rapid changes were made to ensure safety of patients and the community.
Banner Health facilities including hospitals such as Del E. Webb, 14502 W Meeker Blvd., and Boswell, 10401 W. Thunderbird Blvd., altered the visitor policies at all facilities effective March 19. After just one day, all Banner locations were included in the restrictions as of March 20.
According to Banner Health Marketing and Public Relations Senior Director Becky Armendariz, April 2 exceptions were made for end-of-life patients. Additionally, other exceptions include pediatric patients. These patients may have one adult visitor per day. Laboring mothers may also have one support person with them, according to the Banner Health website.
At all other Banner Health locations pediatric patients may also have one adult visitor with them and individuals with physical or cognitive limitations or disabilities who require support, may have one adult visitor with them.
Per the Banner Health website, visitors must wear a mask when entering any Banner facilities where health care services are provided. The policy states visitors are subject to a health screening at all locations to ensure visitors are not exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness. Visitors must remain inside patients’ rooms through the duration of the visit and are not permitted to enter and leave the hospital multiple times throughout the same 24-hour period.
Sun City West resident Brenda Sloan emailed the Sun City West Independent over visitor concerns at the Del E. Webb hospital. “I realize the hospitals are attempting to limit contact with the outside, but not allowing each patient to have an advocate that is a family member is unprecedented. They state that a hospital staff member is designated to each patient to act as an advocate, but in this case, at least, no one has performed this task.”
However, Ms. Armendariz said the changes made to the visitor policy as previously mentioned were the only ones made to the policy this year. Prior to the pandemic, Banner Health had its usual winter restrictions in place. Ms. Armendariz said visitors had to be well with no signs of respiratory illness and children under the age of 13 were not permitted in patient care areas.
Looking ahead, Ms. Armendariz said there are no plans in place to fully lift the visitor restrictions at this time.
“But we intend to make changes in the near future which would allow for expanded visitations,” she said.
Ms. Sloan said via email all patients should be allowed to have an advocate for them, especially when hospitalized.
Ms. Armendariz said, “Banner has a number of safety practices in place year-round to keep our patients safe. These include measures that are specific to vulnerable populations who might have additional or unique needs to ensure their safety,” she said. “We understand that some of our patients may have loved ones or advocates making health care decisions on their behalf. In those circumstances, our team members work closely with the individuals by phone to ensure that their wishes are carried out. We also assist patients by connecting them with their loved ones by phone or video chats.”https://www.bannerhealth.com/