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BMC & Fairview revise visitor policy to prevent spread of H1N1 Flu
October 28, 2009 Berkshire Health Systems hospitals are revising visitor policy to help prevent the spread of H1N1 Flu. PITTSFIELD, MA – Berkshire Health Systems hospitals, Berkshire Medical Center and Fairview Hospital, are asking the community to follow temporary measures in hospital visitation policies to safeguard patients, guests and employees in response to a rise in the flu virus in the region. Effective immediately, children under 18 years of age are asked not to visit patients in the hospital because of the high incidence of the virus in school-aged populations. BHS healthcare providers also ask all who are suffering from flu-like symptoms not to visit patients in the hospital to avoid spreading the H1N1 virus. This policy applies to all areas of each hospital. However, this policy does not affect people seeking hospital services for their own medical needs. Special circumstances will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Families with a special situation, such as a gravely ill family member, should contact the nursing supervisor on the patient’s unit for permission so that safety protocols are followed for the protection of patients as well as visitors. “Patient safety is a high priority and these precautions are put in place with the best interests of our patients in mind as we face this unusual flu-season,” said Doreen Hutchinson, Chief Nursing Officer for Fairview Hospital. “We appreciate that visitors and family are a very important part of a patient’s healing process and we understand that this restriction could pose a hardship for our patients and their families. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and understanding as we modify our practices to protect the health of our patients and visitors,” said Diane Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for Berkshire Medical Center. Leadership throughout the health system has been preparing for months for this flu season through vaccination and hygiene education to prevent the spread of the virus and to plan for different levels of a flu outbreak. Changes to hospital visiting policies are becoming common practice in hospitals across the country. Signs will be posted at hospital entrances to remind visitors of this temporary change. Policies may need to be tightened further as the flu season progresses. Please visit the BHS website at for additional updates or guidance regarding the H1N1 virus.

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