AP NEWS

Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital asks community to limit visitation during flu epidemic

February 17, 2018 GMT

Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is working to limit exposure of its patients to influenza during what the Centers for Disease Control has called a flu epidemic and is asking the community to limit visits to the facility.

“The flu can be especially dangerous to the young, frail and elderly,” said Helen Johnson, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, FACHE, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. “But this year, from all over the state and the country, we are also hearing about otherwise healthy, middle-aged people dying or getting extremely ill from the flu. Rates of strep throat are now also going up. For the safety of our patients and for our staff, we are limiting visitation in the hospital, asking that patients limit visitors to two people only. We’re also asking those who have outpatient appointments in our medical offices and clinics to limit the number of support people who accompany them.”

Visitors are asked to respect the following restrictions:

· If you are ill or have been exposed to someone who is ill, please refrain from visiting the hospital

· All visitors are expected to be healthy and the hospital is taking active steps to protect patients, staff and visitors. A healthy visitor is someone who does not have the following symptoms:

· Fever, greater than 100.4 F

· Cough

· Sore throat

· Runny nose or congestion

· Vomiting or diarrhea

· Rash or draining sores

· Only healthy visitors should visit patients in the hospitals or outpatient clinics

· Hospitals strongly recommend only two visitors or family members visit a patient at a time in order to limit exposure to patients, visitors and family members

These conditions apply to visitors at all Spectrum Health hospitals and are effective until further notice. These measures are designed to protect vulnerable patients.

To avoid getting influenza, physicians recommend:

· Get your seasonal influenza vaccine; it’s still not too late, as this year’s flu season may be protracted

· Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly

Avoid contact with people who have flu-like symptomsGet plenty of restEat a healthy, balanced diet

Influenza Facts

Most symptoms can and should be treated at home. Only the most severe illnesses require a visit to the emergency departmentIt will take anywhere from five to 10 days for the illness to run its courseMost people who contract influenza should try to stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids and take acetaminophen or an anti-inflammatory medicine

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 180 ambulatory and service sites; 3,600 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,500 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with 779,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 26,000 employees. The organization provided $372 million in community benefit during its 2017 fiscal year. Spectrum Health was named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems—and in the top five among the largest health systems—in 2017 by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM. This is the sixth time the organization has received this recognition.