Young visitors, visiting hours restricted at Mercy

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Another western Massachusetts hospital system is changing its visitor policy amid concerns about the spread of the flu.

Mercy Medical Center is no longer allowing visitors younger than 14 years old, and they are reducing visiting hours to a four-hour window in the evening; from 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Additionally, visits are limited to two people per patient at any given time, and people with cold or flu-like symptoms are instructed not to visit patients.

The policy change applies to all buildings on their campus, including the main Mercy Medcial Center building, the Family Life Center for Maternity, and Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital. It also applies at Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke.

In a news release sent to 22News, Mercy Medical Center spokesperson Mary Orr said that children have been found to be more likely to spread the influenza virus than adults. She says that they have made these policy decisions after careful consideration.

“Although we understand this change in visitation policy may present an inconvenience, Mercy Medical Center joins other hospitals in the area in these restrictions in order to provide the safest possible environment for patients and staff,” Orr wrote.

She said that the hospital system will provide updates as to when the restrictions will be lifted.

Baystate Medical Center in Springfield recently announced similar changes to their visitors’ policy over concerns about the flu.

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