News Release Contact: Amy Schilz, Public Relations Specialist Banner Health, (308) 284-7297 OCH implements new visitor guidelines for flu season OGALLALA-- (Sept. 8, 2009) —Ogallala Community Hospital has announced that it is implementing new visitor restrictions as an additional precautionary measure to ensure a safe environment for patients and protect patients, visitors and employees during the influenza season. People 12 years of age and younger will no longer be allowed to visit patient care areas such as patient rooms, medical imaging, therapy areas and outpatient service areas. Research indicates that young people in this age group are the more at-risk population as carriers and transmitters of the flu and H1N1 virus. Young people who do come to visit at the hospital will be asked to remain in waiting areas and must be supervised by an adult at all times. “We realize this is a significant change in our visitation policy,” said Amy Stanley, RN, Infection Control. “With the increasing number of confirmed influenza A and H1N1 cases in the state, we feel implementing this at this time is in the best interests of our patients and the community.” As additional safety measures, the staff at OCH also requests that you: Restrict visits to the hospital if you are exhibiting signs of possible flu (fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose). Ask friends and family members who may plan a visit to the hospital to do the same. Wash your hands often -- especially before entering a patient’s room and when leaving the room. Sinks, soap and hand sanitizers are available on all nursing units and throughout the hospital. Vigorously rub your hands together using soap and water for 15 seconds or as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or cough into your elbow, and encourage others to do the same. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. People who schedule outpatient appointments will be asked to come to appointments without their children. “Our goal is to protect the health and safety of our patients, many of whom are already vulnerable and susceptible to more serious illness, as well as the health care team providing services to those patients and families,” said Stanley. “We would appreciate the understanding and cooperation of visitors and guests to the hospital in assisting us in reaching our goal.” ### ABOUT BANNER HEALTH Based in Phoenix, Banner Health is one of the largest, not-for-profit health care systems in the country. Banner has 22 facilities that offer an array of services including hospital care, home care, hospice care, nursing registries, surgery centers, laboratories, rehabilitation services. These facilities are located in seven states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Wyoming. In addition to emergency and medical services, Banner Health medical centers house a variety of specialized services, including heart care, cancer treatment, delivery of high-order multiple births, organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, rehabilitation services, and behavioral health services. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.
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