With the current crisis nationwide at the top of everyone's mind these days, it's not surprising that Eastern Maine Medical Center has had to make some adjustments to their flu policies. With the virus running so rampantly through the state, the hospital has had to consider the safety of everyone who comes through their doors.

This has led to a couple of things that you should keep in mind if you're planning on visiting someone at the hospital. Such as:

  • Visitors are limited to two per patient at a time anywhere in the hospital.
  • Visitors 12 years of age or older will be welcomed. However, visitors under 12 are asked to please connect with family or friends via phone or in person when they are discharged from the hospital.
  • The medical center is limiting access to patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms (fever, upper respiratory symptoms, muscle pain, etc.).

In just about any medical setting, participation of family and friends is typically vital to a patient's recovery. But with this flu season being what it is, EMMC has had to act accordingly, and really buckle down on prevention and the spread of the virus, which has led to this unique situation.

“While we are strong advocates for family and friend involvement in our patients’ healing process, the current unprecedented flu season represents a significant risk for our patients, visitors, and staff,” says James Jarvis, MD, FAAFP, Eastern Maine Medical Center’s senior vice president and senior physician executive. “We have implemented temporary measures to promote preventive habits and to decrease exposure to vulnerable populations.”

The hospital will also be asking people to move through certain entrances where they can be assessed for flu-like symptoms and checked against their current policies for visitation. It may inconvenience some folks, but it's all in the name of safety and prevention.

“We did not come to this decision lightly. We know these temporary measures will create some challenges for visitors and may cause a bit of inconvenience for those entering the medical center," adds Dr. Jarvis. "However, we believe these adjustments are absolutely necessary to protect our patients, staff, and the communities we serve. We are asking for cooperation and patience as we work together to do our part in preventing the spread of influenza in our community.”

There's no doubt, it's a tough time for everybody where this flu is concerned. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was posting here about flu prevention, and the virus has since continued to have it's way with the Bangor area and beyond.

Maybe the biggest take away from that story should be, just stay home. Maybe instead pick up the phone, or send an email, but most of all, just let the sick get well. And keep crossing your fingers that you're not next!