New York hospitals will now be required to allow visitors for patients under new Department of Health Guidelines that were released on Monday.
Hospitals must now allow at least one visitor to be with the patient, and children may have two visitors with them at all times.
Hospitals may set their own visitation hours and maximum number of visitors allowed, depending on the unit, age of the patient, and patient’s condition.
Adults with special needs and elderly patients with mental impairments may have two visitors, one who will stay with them throughout and another who can come to be with the patient during visiting hours.
A patient in the hospital for a procedure can be accompanied by a companion, who will stay and wait while the patient is undergoing surgery, and then will accompany the patient from the hospital.
Visitors must wear a face mask, undergo temperature checks, and remain in the patient’s room unless to use the bathroom or when directed by hospital staff.
“We are really grateful for the opening up of the hospitals for the patients,” Rabbi Moshe Dovid Niederman, executive director of UJO of Williamsburg told Hamodia. Rabbi Niederman personally urged Governor Andrew Cuomo on a phone call to ease restrictions around hospital visitors, saying that being trapped along in a hospital room without company would be detrimental to the mental wellbeing of a patient.
“It not only improves the anxiety of the patient, it with helps their recovery,” Rabbi Niederman said. “It’s wonderful we are moving ahead in the right direction. I hope the hospitals will follow the spirit of the governor” and further open to visitors.
But Yossi Gestetner of OJPAC, which has been involved in lobbying for hospital visitations, said these guidelines are still too restrictive, and that hospitals are lagging behind as New York reopens.
“Most patients are still left alone for most of the day, which is very disappointing,” he told Hamodia. “The rest of society is practically open. To deny patients their basic rights at this point is mindboggling.”