BRUNSWICK, Georgia: Oct. 15, 2009 – To help prevent the spread of
influenza, including H1N1, Southeast Georgia Health System’s hospitals
and Senior Care Centers in Brunswick and St. Marys are enforcing visitor
restrictions, including not allowing children under 12 to enter patient
“Most people think hospitals are places to recover from an illness,
but we are also in the business of preventing illnesses,” says Elizabeth
Gunn, RN, MSN, interim vice president of Patient Care Services. “Because
research indicates children are the main carriers of H1N1, children under
12 will not be allowed to visit patient-care areas in the hospital. Patient-care
areas include any area in the hospital where a patient receives care,
such as patient rooms, imaging, speech, occupational or physical therapy,
and outpatient services. Restrictions do not apply to public areas such
as the main lobby, cafeteria, or gift shops.”
Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has named
children and pregnant women as having a higher risk for developing serious
complications from H1N1, Southeast Georgia Health System has decided to
enforce the visitation policy as effectively as possible, Gunn says.
“Visitors will be told they either need to return home with their
children, or arrange for them to be supervised by an adult in an area
outside the hospital or outside our patient care areas. The restriction
on children's visitation is to help protect the patients, visitors
and staff,” Gunn says. “Women and infants in our Maternity
Care Centers are part of the higher risk category for H1N1 and we also
have older patient's hospital-wide who are immune-compromised and
are more susceptible to the flu.”
Gunn says the Health System will evaluate the visitation restrictions as
needed. “The severity of the flu season will affect any decisions
regarding hospital visitation, what is best for our patients, their families,
our employees, and the community as a whole,” she says.
Some guidelines to consider when visiting the hospital are:
- Do not visit the hospital if you have symptoms of the flu - runny nose,
cough, fever, etc.
- Visitors should wash their hands often and before entering and leaving
a patient's room. Waterless hand sanitizer is available in all patient
rooms and on the nursing units.
- If you have been in recent contact with someone who has the flu, wear a
mask during you entire hospital visit.
“Taking steps to prevent infections saves lives, and is the responsible
thing to do in the interest of our community,” Gunn says.
The Southeast Georgia Health System Brunswick Campus is located at 2415
Parkwood Drive, while the Camden Campus is located at 2000 Dan Proctor
Drive, St. Marys. The Senior Care Centers are located at 2611 Wildwood
Drive, Brunswick, and 805 Dilworth, St. Marys. For more information, visit