Kootenai cares about the health and well-being of our patients and caregivers. Given that COVID-19 is circulating in our community, we must ensure the safety of our facilities and our ability to care for as many patients as possible. Safety is our top priority during this time.
Due to the high testing positivity rate for COVID-19 in our community and the number of positive patients in the hospital, in order to keep our patients and health care providers safe, Kootenai Health has implemented some necessary visitor restrictions.
Visitors who are allowed, as described below, must meet the following criteria:
- Masking: ALL visitors over the age of two must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth.
- Visitors are required to wear a mask at all times while on our campus.
- A visitor who does not wear a mask continuously and properly during a visit will first be given a warning and reminded of the universal masking expectations. If, after a warning, they continue to violate the mask policy, they may be removed by security and added to a no-visit list.
- If an egregious violation of Kootenai Health’s masking policy occurs at any time, security may be contacted, and the visitor may be removed immediately.
- Age: No visitors under 18 (except end of life situations).
- Temperature: Not elevated.
- No Symptoms: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, headache, congestion, runny nose and GI symptoms, like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Has not been in close contact with a person who is known to be COVID-19 positive.
- Has not been exposed to a person who is known to be positive and is now in quarantine.
- Is not waiting on a COVID-19 test result.
- Has not tested positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of visit and has no symptoms.
Patients are allowed one visitor per day in the following areas:
- Inpatient and Emergency Department, except if the patient is COVID positive, or waiting on a COVID test result.
- Outpatient Cardiac and Surgical Patients, except if the patient is COVID positive, or waiting on a COVID test result.
Additional visitor accommodations:
- Family Birth Center mothers: May also have a certified doula (proof of certification required).
- Pediatric Patients (age 17 and under, including NICU Patients): May be accompanied by two parents or guardians.
- Patients who are at the end of life (EOL): May have four visitors in a 24-hour period, with two visitors at a time. EOL status will be determined by the care team and refers to a patient who is near death and not expected to survive the hospitalization.
- Patients who request spiritual support: A member of the spiritual community is encouraged to provide support virtually, but is allowed to be present in addition to the one visitor.
- Behavioral Health patients may have visitation through technology only.
- The following COVID positive ICU patients may have one visitor every five days. Refer to the COVID positive ICU Patient Visitation Process below for process and details.
- COVID positive ICU patients on a ventilator
- COVID positive ICU patients admitted to the unit for 14 days or more
In all cases, each unit manager has the discretion to limit the duration of a visit based on clinical considerations.
- Notwithstanding anything above, whether the patient is COVID + or not, if a patient needs the assistance of a caregiver to communicate with the healthcare team and/or make health care decisions for the patient (whether due to current medical condition, disability, etc.), such person will be considered the one allowed visitor.
- Only vendors and contractors providing urgent or non-deferrable services are allowed in Kootenai facilities.
- Non-patient employees are not permitted to have visitors.
- Employees/staff who wish to visit a patient in a non-professional capacity must adhere to all aspects of this policy.
COVID-19 ICU Visitation Policy
To assist family members in understanding the severity of illness in some COVID-19 patients, and to assist those patients with the healing process, Kootenai Health is allowing limited visitation for critical care patients as follows:
- COVID positive vented ICU patients to have one visitor every five days
- COVID positive ICU patients with a length of stay greater than 14 days to have one visitor every five days
Visitation is limited due to staffing required to escort visitors and to limit entry and exit from the COVID unit(s) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure to visitors and staff. There is risk of possible COVID exposure to visitors. If a potential visitor is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness, then a virtual visit is recommended, or the potential visitor should first discuss visitation with their physician.
In all circumstances, the following criteria must be met:
- Visitation must be prescheduled in advance.
- Guest Services will receive a list of patients approved for visitation.
- Guest Services will reach out to schedule visitation
- Guest Services will communicate appointment schedule to ambassadors.
- Visitation will occur from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- No exceptions to these hours will be made.
- There should be no more than six visitors on the unit at a time.
- Visitors must not exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, which include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, headache, congestion, runny nose and GI symptoms, like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- Visitors must not have tested positive for COVID-19 within 10 days of visit.
- Visitors must not be waiting on a COVID-19 test results.
- Visitors must be over the age of 18.
Kootenai Health asks that all patients and visitors begin wearing a cloth face covering before entering any patient care buildings:
- Kootenai Health hospital
- All Kootenai Clinic locations
- Kootenai Urgent Care locations
- Kootenai Health Rehabilitation Services locations
Wearing a face covering helps everyone keep their germs to themselves and prevents the spread of illness especially among those who may not be aware they have it.
Visitors within any Kootenai Health buildings are required to keep a properly fitting mask over their nose and mouth at all times. Visitors who do not comply will be reminded of our policy. If a visitor continues to violate this policy after warning, the visitor will be asked to leave the premises and security may be contacted.