Press Release

For Immediate Release
Nov 12, 2009
Contact : Elizabeth Dobis  
732-751-7537
edobis@meridianhealth.com

Meridian Health Issues Visitor Guidelines To Prevent H1N1 Flu Spread

New guidelines for visitors to all of Meridian Health’s hospitals effective Friday, November 13  

Neptune, NJ -  Meridian Health, comprised of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, is temporarily modifying its hospital visitation policy to include recommendations to restrict visitors under the age of 18.

Since the beginning of the H1N1 influenza pandemic, our hospitals have been encouraging preventative measures such as frequent hand washing, and asking visitors to refrain hospital visitation if they are experiencing any illness.

These additional age-specific guidelines are based on recommendations recently issued by the New Jersey Hospital Association, New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Centers for Disease Control, and follow similar approaches taken by hospitals across the nation. Starting Friday, November 13 and continuing for the duration of the flu season, families and visitors are asked to observe the following:

•· Please do not bring children under the age of 18 to visit friends and loved ones in the hospital. No individuals under the age of 18 are recommended to visit the hospital unless they are a patient or in special circumstances that have been identified and approved by the hospital.

•· Please do not visit friends or loved ones in the hospital if you are feeling ill. As we ask during regular flu season, please do not visit friends and loved ones the hospital if you are experiencing respiratory illness or any flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

“Meridian highly values the importance of family and friends for a patient’s successful recovery, and therefore carefully considered the impact of any visitation restriction,” says Richard Hader, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer of Meridian Health. “However, the extraordinary nature of the current flu pandemic requires us to follow the latest public health recommendations and adjust our traditional family and patient-centered approach accordingly as part of our comprehensive flu response efforts. We appreciate our visitor’s cooperation and understanding as we work to best protect our patient’s safety during this challenging flu season.”

We are also asking visitors to please: •· Limit their movement within the hospital •· Use waterless soap/hand sanitizer provided throughout the hospital when entering and exiting a patient's room and limit touching surfaces within the room. •· Follow our team’s guidance and instruction on the proper use of personal protective equipment, such as masks, prior to entering the room of a patient with respiratory illness.

For visitors coming to our emergency departments experiencing respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms, we ask that a surgical mask be worn while in the waiting areas. Masks are available at the entrance of the emergency departments.

For further information on the H1N1 virus or the seasonal flu, please visit meridianhealth.com/H1N1 or flu.gov

Meridian Health is a family of not-for-profit health care organizations comprising Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Meridian Partner Companies that include home health services, skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, ambulatory care, ambulance services, and occupational health centers located throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties.

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