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Rising coronavirus cases have hospitals doubling down on visitation policies

Hospital Generic
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-06 01:08:46-04

PHOENIX — The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community means, those of you with loved ones in the hospital will have to wait a little longer to see them.

One of the downfalls of the pandemic is sending our sick loved ones to the hospital alone. This has been extremely stressful for many families, who have been unable to physically see their loved one for weeks.

Darlene Enas Wilson who lives near Casa Grande last saw her husband 11 weeks ago, when he was admitted to the hospital for emergency hernia surgery.

She was extremely emotional as she spoke to ABC15, talking about how big of a toll this was taking on them.

"My emotions they're everywhere I'm just really frustrated because I haven't seen him in over four months. It's been really, really hard, not being able to see someone you spent every day and night with. It's just me, myself and it's just really hard," said Enas Wilson.

Carmen Bindues was also concerned after her 84-year old father was hospitalized after suffering a stroke. They had not been able to see him for five weeks, and worried that he was confused, disoriented, and did not understand what was going on.

"Right now the only visitors allowed are pregnant women, to have a support partner, and yet an 84- year old man who is confused and cannot understand direction is not allowed one person to see him, whether it's for a few minutes or not," said Bindues.

Both men were hospitalized at Banner healthcare facilities in Phoenix.

A spokeswoman for Banner health referred ABC15 to the visitation policies which are posted on their website.

In a statement, Banner Health officials go on to say:

"We are closely monitoring prevalence of COVID-19 in the community. Due to the increasing number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations over the past couple of weeks, we have been unable to ease our visitor restrictions."

Officials say patients can coordinate virtual visits through tablets provided by the hospital with their loved ones.

Enas Wilson said that did not help her much, as her husband was too tired to visit "virtually," and seemed extremely depressed, withdrawn, and did not want to talk.

Bindues said her family was not aware about the virtual visitation policy.

"We've been calling everyday and it's very hard to get through, I know they're busy but not once was I told you could have a virtual visit," said Bindues.

Banner healthcare officials say they are monitoring COVID-19 numbers everyday and hope to ease up restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.

Other healthcare systems such as Abrazo and Honor Health also have similar visitation policies in place, with exceptions for women in labor and minors being allowed one screened visitor.

A spokesperson with Dignity Health got back to ABC15 and said they were now allowing one companion to accompany those patients who were about to undergo surgery as well.