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Ascension Wisconsin announces updated visitor guidelines

June 09, 2020

As part of a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ascension Wisconsin facilities in central and northern Wisconsin have evaluated and announced updated visitor procedures. 

“Our guidance addresses the safety of our associates and the persons with whom we are privileged to serve, in addition to ensuring that we continue to deliver optimal care,” said Dawn Gapko, MSN, RN, vice president of patient care services for Ascension Wisconsin’s North Region. “Our priority is to reduce transmission risk among patients and associates,  protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications.”

Effective Wednesday, June 3, the updated restricted visitation policy at Ascension Wisconsin facilities in central and northern Wisconsin includes the following:


• All visitors will be screened upon entering the facility for COVID-19 symptoms.

• No visitors who have flu-like symptoms and/or cough, fever greater than 99.5 F, difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath, or recent exposure to a known COVID-19 person will be allowed to visit. 

• Visitation of patients who are under investigation or confirmed COVID-19 will not be allowed due to the risk to the visitor; virtual visitation is encouraged.

• If the visitor screen is negative, the visitation may proceed provided the visitor’s movement within the hospital is limited only to the patient’s room.

Face covering:

• As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, visitors are encouraged to bring their own cloth covering or facemask when visiting an Ascension Wisconsin facility. Face coverings will be provided upon entry to those who do not have their own. These should be worn at all times while in the facility. 

• It is not recommended to place masks on children younger than 2 or anyone having trouble breathing (these latter patients should be referred to a medical professional). 

General visitor guidelines:

• One visitor is allowed per patient and the visitor must remain the same for the duration of hospitalization. 

• Ideally, this visitor designee should be the family spokesperson as well for hospital inpatients. 

• It is recommended visitors be at least 18 years of age. 

• Visitors are to wash their hands and/or use an alcohol-based hand rub prior to entering and when leaving a patient’s room.

• Visitors should adhere to appropriate social distancing with staff, patients and other visitors.

• Visiting hours will vary by location and facility, please check with your local Ascension Wisconsin facility for more information on specific visiting hours.

There will be some exceptions on a case-by-case basis, including labor and delivery, pediatrics, neonatal intensive care (NICU) and end-of-life care. 

“If the patient has extenuating circumstances, these will be addressed individually with the patient’s healthcare team to determine appropriate visitation that is safe,” Gapko said. 

To stay connected to loved ones and remain aware of their status while hospitalized, Ascension Wisconsin encourages any potential visitors to use alternate methods of communication to stay in contact such as calling, video chatting, or texting. Access to guest wi-fi at Ascension Wisconsin facilities is available by connecting to AH-Guest.

“We appreciate the community’s support in adhering to these guidelines, as we continue to care for people who are most in need during these unprecedented times,” Gapko said. 

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