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story.lead_photo.caption Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville. (NWA Democrat-Gazette file photo/DAVID GOTTSCHALK)

ROGERS -- Hospitals in Northwest Arkansas have loosened visitor restrictions implemented this spring to prevent the spread of covid-19.

Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Mercy Northwest Arkansas in Rogers and Northwest Health, which has five hospitals in the region, updated their visitation policies as of Monday, according to a joint news release from the health care systems via Martine Pollard, spokeswoman at Mercy.

"Clinically, we know when patients are with their loved ones, it can be critical to their healing and recovery," Charlotte Rankin, chief administrative officer and chief nursing officer at Mercy, said in the news release.

Rules may vary between hospitals.

Generally, patients, including intensive care unit patients, are allowed one adult visitor per day. Labor and delivery patients are allowed one to two visitors for the duration of their stay. Emergency room patients may be accompanied by one visitor.

The hospitals and clinics will continue to require face coverings, to screen visitors and employees for covid-19 and to limit entrances into their buildings, according to the news release.

Hospitals generally stopped allowing all visitors in March, with exceptions for some patients such as children or women in labor.

Visitation rules for the region's largest hospitals are below.

Washington Regional

Most patients staying in the hospital may have one visitor per day from 4 to 7 p.m.

Covid-19 patients may only have visitors if they are receiving end-of-life care.

Obstetric patients may have one adult visitor. Neonatal intensive care unit patients may have either two parents or one parent and a support person who may visit at same time. Visitors may leave once per day.

Emergency department patients and patients undergoing outpatient procedures may be accompanied by one visitor unless social distancing cannot be maintained. In that case, visitors must wait in their vehicles.

Patients who use wheelchairs or have special needs may be allowed a visitor to assist in patient care.

Mercy

All visitors must be at least 18 and may visit from 3 to 7 p.m. daily. Patients are limited to one visitor per day. Visitation in the intensive care unit is limited to one hour.

Obstetric and neonatal intensive care patients may have two visitors for the duration of their stay.

Emergency room patients may be accompanied by one visitor. Visitors will be asked to wait in their vehicle until the patient has been taken to a room. The emergency room waiting room remains closed to visitors. The visitor will be asked to leave and follow the hospital visitor guidelines if the emergency room patient is admitted to the hospital.

Patients who have tested positive for covid-19 or are awaiting test results may not have visitors. Mercy may make exceptions.

Northwest Health

Patients may have one one visitor from 3 to 7 p.m. daily. Visitation in the intensive care unit is limited to one hour. ​Visitation for patients receiving end-of-life care is at the discretion of the physician.

Obstetric patients may have two visitors for the duration of their stay who can come and go as needed. Patients in the neonatal intensive care unit may have two visitors.

Patients undergoing outpatient procedures and emergency room patients may have one visitor. Emergency department visitors will be asked to wait in their vehicles or to socially distance in the waiting room until the patient has been taken to a room.

Patients who have tested positive for covid-19 or are awaiting test results may not have visitors. Visitors under 18 are not allowed. Northwest Health may make individual exceptions for both rules.

No visitors are allowed in the behavioral health unit.

Arkansas Children's Northwest

Patients may have one adult visitor. Patients staying overnight may have one parent or guardian stay with them.

Visitors under 18 are not allowed unless they are a parent or caregiver of a patient.

Alex Golden may be reached by email at [email protected]

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