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Health Protocols to Prevent COVID-19 for Hospital Visitors

Professionals & Health Workers

Protection and prevention

Hospital visits must be limited, taking into account the epidemiological situation in the hospital, the absence of outbreaks, and establish an appropriate mechanism and plan for the visiting, including:

  • Facilitating and encouraging alternative methods of communication, such as the use of remote communication applications, while providing assistance from staff to patients if necessary.
  • Restricting the visit to specific hours for all visitors, and it is preferable to schedule it in advance to reduce clustering.
  • The mechanism must include educating visitors about the precautionary measures and conditions of the visit, and it must include a pledge to abide by these conditions, preferably when booking the visit appointment.
  • Allocate a special entrance and exit for the visit, if possible.
  • Preventing visitors who are not related to the patients from entering the hospital like volunteers.
  • Children and elderly visitors must be prevented, so that the visitor must be 18 years old or more, and no more than 65 years old.
  • Preventing visitors from bringing items such as gifts, flowers, and food from outside the hospital when visiting.
  • The visitor is required to wear the surgical mask all the time, and wear the personal protection equipment properly if necessary according to the directions of the hospital staff throughout the visit time, and he/she must disinfect his/her hands well with an alcohol disinfectant before and after visiting the patient and when touching the patient’s tools or possessions.
  • The visitor can only visit the patients who have been granted permission to visit them.
  • Waiting before and after visiting are not allowed and allocating a separate waiting area in case of need.
  • The visitor will be asked to go directly to the patient’s room and then leave the hospital as soon as the visit ends.
  • Each visitor must stay at the bedside for the duration of the visit unless the care team directs them to another location.
  • Prevent gatherings in waiting areas or common areas inside the hospital.
  • Handshakes and hugs between patients and visitors are prohibited.
  • Reducing crowding in rooms and the social distancing (one and a half meters) between patients and visitors must be applied and ensure to place signs for that.
  • During the visit, the number of visitors will be in accordance with the policy of the hospital, with an emphasis on reducing the number of visitors to a minimum while reducing the duration of the visit to the shortest possible period according to the patient’s location and health status.
  • More than one visitor for the patient inside the room are not allowed.
  • Restrict the visits to intensive care patients (ICU) so that the number of visitors does not exceed two per day.
  • One caregiver or person per patient is permitted in the pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and these visitors must only be parents or their representatives.
  • Visiting the intensive care sections (ICU) and intermediate care for adults and newborns will be from behind a glass barrier with the limitation of the visits to the patients in intensive care so that the number of visitors does not exceed two per day.
  • Visits for cases infected or suspected of having COVID-19 are prohibited.
  • Prevent visits to immunocompromised patients and patients undergoing spray casting procedures.

Reporting and monitoring

  • A checkpoint must be made at the entrance to the hospital that includes checking the temperature with a device approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and asking about respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath), as well as verifying that the visitor is free of Covid-19, for example, the status in the (Tawakklna) app.
  • Prevent entry for those with a high temperature (38 ° C or more), those with symptoms of respiratory infection, or those who have had contact with a confirmed case.
  • Hospital visitors from abroad must be kept in a record.
  • Asking visitors to inform hospital officials if they develop symptoms of respiratory infection and upon confirming their diagnosis of Covid-19 disease within 14 days of visiting the hospital.

Communication and information

Visitors must be educated about Covid-19 disease and the precautionary measures that must be taken by making them aware of the following:

  • Identifying the disease, methods of transmission, symptoms of the disease, and the need to disclose it.
  • How to prevent Covid-19 disease, including emphasizing the importance of handwashing and disinfection, how to use a mask, and other means of protection.
  • Follow the etiquette of sneezing and coughing (use a tissue and dispose it as soon as possible, use the elbow by bending the arm).
  • Educating posters should be posted inside the hospital and in prominent places.
  • Visitors with chronic diseases should be urged to postpone the visit for the time being.

Implementation

  • Security guard Supervisors should be assigned to organize the visits to the hospital.
  • Security guards should be trained and educated about the dangers of disease.
  • Conduct mandatory health and safety training on COVID-19 for all staff in charge for patients visits.
Appendix (1): Groups at higher risk of infection