Mom who’s been there understands visitor limitations

Amy and Cody Pichon knew their then-4-year-old son’s cough wasn’t good. They didn’t know it would put otherwise-on-the-move Avery in the hospital.

“We couldn’t get rid of his cough for anything,” Amy Pichon of St. Joseph said. “When we couldn’t control his high fever, we took him to the Emergency Department, and he was admitted.

“We were surprised it was RSV. He was preschool age, and it knocked him out. I hate to think about newborns and little babies having RSV.”

As the 2016 RSV and flu season begins, Carle is limiting visitors to women’s and children’s areas as it does each year to keep the smallest patients and new mothers healthy. Some visitor guidelines are different than last season to match Illinois Department of Public Health best practices.

Last season’s situation did require some explaining.

“It was a challenge to explaining to our family, but as a healthcare provider, I completely get it. The rules are understandable,” said Pichon, an MRI technician.

Thankfully, IV antibiotics cleared things up, and before long, Avery was becoming himself again and ready to head home.

Healthy children are the goal.

“We do visitor limitations proactively to help keep women, children and babies healthy,” said Pamela Unger, RN, MSHA, MSN, Women’s and Children’s Services director.

“While we haven’t seen a big uptick in respiratory viruses or flu, we want to take safety precautions before there is a spike.”

In Labor & Delivery and Postpartum inpatient areas:

  • Five designated adult support people are allowed, and they must wear armbands.
  • Adult visitors receive bands once identified by the patient, and the bands cannot be transferred.
  • Siblings of the baby under 18 years are allowed and do not require wristbands.
  • However, child siblings of the baby may not spend the night.
  • All visitors must be healthy with no symptoms of cold, flu or other illness.

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU):

  • Six designated adult support people are allowed to include the visiting mother.
  • Only two designated adults may visit at a time, and they all must be healthy with no symptoms of cold, flu or other illness.
  • Adult visitors receive armbands once identified by the patient, and the bands cannot be transferred.
  • Children under 18 years of age are not able to visit in the NICU to keep the baby safe.

In Inpatient Pediatrics:

  • No more than five visitors can be in a room at any time.
  • Two designated caregivers will be allowed 24-hour access to the patient.
  • All other visitors may visit between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • No visitors under 18 months will be allowed unless they are siblings of the patient.
  • No visitors under 18 years will be allowed in common areas.
  • All visitors under 18 years will be screened for illness, which may include taking their temperature.
  • Anyone with signs and symptoms of illness or with recent exposure to illness cannot visit. 
  • Visitors will be screened for diarrhea, vomiting, eye infection, fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, cold, respiratory illness, rash and wound infection.
  • Visitors who pass the health screening will receive a dated sticker, which will be valid for one day.

Carle’s Infection Prevention Department will continue to monitor influenza, RSV and other conditions in the area and will update visitor guidelines as needed. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your provider.