Hospitals Lift Visitor Restrictions - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Hospitals Lift Visitor Restrictions

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By Alex Schuman

aschuman@myabc5.com

@alexschuman

Both Mercy and Iowa Health Systems hospitals lifted their limitations on hospital visitors Friday.

The reason for the policy was to stop flu germs from spreading, but its not a big concern anymore. 

They limited the number of visiting patients and did now allow anyone under 18 to visit, unless under certain circumstances. 

"We were seeing so much activity inpatient and outpatient that it was the best thing to do to protect our patients and our staff," said Amy Varcoe, Iowa Health Systems spokesperson.

2009 was the last time they put a ban like this in place.  And although this year's flu season was bad, it ended sooner than usual.

"This year it peaked about four weeks earlier than normal," said Varcoe.

In the last two weeks, Iowa Health did not have a single hospitalization from the flu and got less than a third of the number of out patients reporting symptoms.

Iowa Health says visitations can often be crucial to someone's recovery.  They expect to see faster recoveries now because more people can spend time with their loved ones, while they're healing.

Plus, the staff seems to like it as much as the patients.

"They don't have to be the bad guy to people about that they have to have their visitors leave," said Vercoe.

Hospitals still do not want you to visit someone if you're sick, or not feeling well.  They say washing your hands a lot remains the best way to keep flu numbers low.

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