Meridian Health issues new guidelines

Meridian Health, which is 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, these hospitals have encouraged preventative measures such as frequent hand washing and asking visitors to refrain from 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.

For the duration of the flu season, families and visitors are asked to observe the following:

• Not to bring children under the age of 18 to visit 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.

• Those feeling ill (experiencing respiratory illness or any flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) should not visit friends or loved ones.

• Visitors should limit their movement within the hospital and 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 the 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.

• Visitors coming to the emergency departments and experiencing respiratory illness or flu-like symptoms, are asked to wear a surgical mask 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, visit meridianhealth. com/H1N1 or