Visitor Screening, Vaccinations Combine with Strict Hygiene to Fight Its Spread
STONY BROOK, NY, November 16, 2009 -- With the H1N1 influenza outbreak in the U.S., Suffolk County and most of the Northeast accelerating, Stony Brook University Medical Center and hospitals throughout the region are adopting enhanced measures to help protect patients, staff, visitors and the community from the spread of this highly contagious illness. Specifically, SBUMC is doing the following:
· Visitor Policy Restriction: Because most of the people contracting the virus are children and young adults, effective November 16, SBUMC is temporarily changing its Visitors Policy, restricting children under the age of 18 from inpatient care areas. Signs and flyers alerting visitors are posted in English and Spanish inside and outside of medical center buildings, lobbies and other locations, including the Admitting and Emergency departments, outpatient clinics and other high traffic areas. Hospital staff is trained and on-hand to help visitors with issues that might arise from inconveniences or hardships resulting from this change. Additionally, the medical center is screening inpatient visitors and asking them not to come to the hospital if they are exhibiting influenza-like-illness, including fever, cough or sore throat.
· Patient Safety: Surgical masks are offered to any patient exhibiting influenza-like-symptoms.
· Vaccine Availability: SBUMC is also offering H1N1 influenza vaccines to patients, caregivers and hospital healthcare professionals as it becomes available on a prioritized basis according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
· Caregiver Safety: If our caregivers become sick with the flu, they must stay away from work until they have been fever-free for 24 hours, in accordance with CDC guidance. This will help prevent the transmission of influenza from staff to patients.
· Practicing Good Hygiene: As one the most important messages concerning H1N1, the hospital is emphasizing that frequent hand washing should be done routinely and always when entering and leaving a patient room.
· Sanitizing Stations: Lastly, “Keep It Clean” stations are installed throughout hospital facilities where staff and visitors can pick up sanitizing wipes, tissues and hand hygiene products, along with “Toss It” bags for used wipes and tissues, all of which help reduce the spread of viral and bacterial infections, including influenza.
· Web Support: SBUMC added H1N1 updates, information and answers to frequently-asked-questions to its public Internet site for the public, patients and health professionals. As more is learned about the spread and containment of H1N1, the medical center is committed to taking all appropriate measure to protect and treat its patients and their visitors. Please visit our web site at www.stonybrookmedicalcenter.org for periodic updates.
· Collaborations: The institution is also working closely with federal, state and local public officials to ensure it is well prepared to handle this challenging public health issue.
Stony Brook University Medical Center is the only academic medical center on Long Island. It comprises Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Stony Brook University Hospital, which is the only tertiary care hospital and Level 1 trauma center in Suffolk County. With 540 beds and 5,100 employees, it is the largest hospital in Suffolk County. The Heart Center performs the only open-heart surgery in Suffolk and the Cancer Center and Cerebrovascular Center attract patients from throughout the region with cutting edge diagnostic and treatment facilities. Stony Brook is home to Long Island’s first kidney transplantation program which has performed over 1,000 transplants, and initiated the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center. The hospital is also the regional referral center for trauma, perinatal and neonatal intensive care, burns, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation, cystic fibrosis, pediatric/adult AIDS, and is the regional resource center for emergency management. Stony Brook’s Stroke program is certified by the Joint Commission and the NYS Department of Health; and, Stony Brook is home to the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and Long Island’s first comprehensive ALS Center.