BANGOR, Maine — During the height of the pandemic, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center reduced the number of visitors down to one a day with very restricted hours.
During this holiday season, the hospital has expanded the number and hours visitors can be in the building.
As of the day before Thanksgiving, two visitors per patient are now allowed, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. for adult inpatients staying at the hospital.
The new visitation policies include:
Adult Inpatients: Two visitors per patient are permitted at the bedside between 8 am and 8 pm.
Emergency Department (ED): All visitors are asked to wait outside the Medical Center until the patient has been assigned a room in the main ED, at which time, they may have one visitor. As space allows, one visitor may be permitted in the waiting room.
End of Life: Two visitors at a time are permitted 24 hours a day. As space allows, up to four visitors may be permitted for specific periods of time.
Labor and Delivery: During delivery, two people over the age of 18 are permitted at the bedside. This includes the support person. After delivery, siblings under the age of 18 may be permitted with approval.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Two parents/guardians per patient are permitted 24 hours a day. One additional visitor may be at the bedside from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Siblings under the age of 18 may be permitted with approval.
Pediatric Inpatients: Two parents/guardians per patient are permitted 24 hours a day at the bedside. One additional visitor may be at the bedside from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Siblings under the age of 18 may be permitted with approval.
Surgery/Procedure: One support person is permitted in the service area while waiting for the patient.
Hospital officials said families are an important part of the healing process and are happy to allow more visitors during the holidays.
"It's a huge deal. People have been really grateful. They have been incredibly respectful, kind, and doing what we ask of them in terms of spacing and keeping their masks on. They have just been really grateful for this added time and added capacity to see people." Sarah Joy, the director of patient experience, said.
Adjustments have been made to visitation policies since the beginning of the pandemic, but this expansion is the largest since early 2020.
Masks requirements are still in place.