by Michael Ehrat, Chief Executive Officer Fawcett Memorial Hospital and Englewood Community Hospital

To help protect our patients, caregivers, and physicians from an increase in the community spread of COVID-19, Fawcett Memorial Hospital & Englewood Community Hospital implemented a temporary restriction of visitors beginning on Friday, July 3, at 6 a.m. The temporary policy restricts visitors from the inpatient units. One visitor will be allowed with a patient in the Emergency room and with patients undergoing outpatient surgery or outpatient procedures involving sedation. The hospital Administrator on Call (AOC) or administration may grant exceptions on a case by case basis, or in end of life situations.

The decision to restrict visitors from entering our facility is a not an easy one. The support of family and friends is an integral part of the healing process, and separation from this support in times of illness or injury is difficult for all parties. As a healthcare provider, however, we must always put the safety of our patients and caregivers first. In the last two weeks, our communities have experienced a significant increase in new COVID-19 cases. As hospital leaders in quality and safety, evident by local and national recognitions, we feel that it is our responsibility to take the lead in our communities to ensure patient safety. We decided to temporarily restrict visitors after carefully monitoring county and community trends and in close consultation with our medical staff leaders.

Because of the relatively low number of COVID-19 cases in both hospitals, and the increasing number of cases in the communities we serve, the risk is not that a visitor coming to the hospital will contract COVID from a patient. Instead, the risk is that an unsuspecting visitor may inadvertently introduce community-acquired COVID to a patient. No family members or loved ones would ever intentionally bring COVID into the hospital to transmit to a patient. However, the continued increase in positive cases in the community represents a risk to patient safety that we cannot ignore.

Fawcett Memorial Hospital & Englewood Community Hospital continue to be a safe for patients. Individuals experiencing pain or medical issues should not be afraid to come to the hospital for care. In fact, due to our diligent safety practices, our hospitals offer a safer environment than most public spaces. These safety practices ensure a safe environment for care through strict adherence to policies and procedures involving screening, social distancing, universal masking, hand hygiene, and appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We will continue to monitor the community trends, and when it is safe to do so, we will welcome our visitors back to Fawcett & Englewood. In the meantime, our communities should not hesitate to seek care if they have a medical need. Unfortunately, there have been far too many instances recently where individuals postponed needed medical care. Doing so can result in a tragic outcome. Please do not wait for needed care. Fawcett Memorial Hospital & Englewood Community Hospital are open, extremely safe, and ready to care for all patients.

Michael Ehrat
Chief Executive Officer
Fawcett Memorial Hospital and Englewood Community Hospital