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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

MU Health relaxes visitor policies in response to declining local COVID cases

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Nathan Lawrence
/
KBIA

MU Health scaled back some restrictions for hospital visitors on Monday, allowing COVID-negative patients two visitors per day.

Masks will still be required for all visitors, however, and restrictions remain the same for COVID-positive patients. Visitors must be 16 or older and Missouri Psychiatric Center visitors must be at least 18.

“We have changed visiting policy in the past, to really cut down the number of people who are actually physically in the hospital to reduce the risk for transmission,” said Dr. Laura Hesemann, a member of the COVID-19 incident command team at MU Health. “And as we're seeing numbers sort of decline locally, it's time to make a change back the other way.”

The change in policy includes patients in the emergency department, anyone undergoing same-day surgery or testing, and patients with clinic visits.

“Contact with family and friends is an important part of the healing process,” Kevin R. Gwin, MU Health Care chief patient experience officer, said in a news release on Friday. “We are pleased to get closer to a more typical visitation schedule.”

Hesemann said the staff support the change.

“It's helpful for teaching when we're getting ready to discharge someone from the hospital and the nurses are teaching them how to care for a wound or how to take medications appropriately,” Hesemann said.

Visiting hours at University Hospital, Missouri Orthopaedic Institute and Women’s and Children’s Hospital are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Parents of pediatric patients can visit outside regular hours.

Missouri Psychiatric Center’s visiting hours are 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.