To keep patients safe during flu season, which typically runs from early November through February, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will not allow brothers, sisters and other children who are age 12 or younger to visit patients in the hospital. The same restriction will apply to children age 13 to 17 who are not patient siblings and all visitors with symptoms suggesting they could have a respiratory virus that can further ail patients.

All visitors also must pass a screening process at the hospital’s main entrance to ensure that they are healthy enough to visit patients.

Beginning November 3 and running through March 2015, Dell Children’s visitor policy will include the following:

Healthy parents, guardians, visitors and siblings age 13 and older may visit patients.

Siblings age 12 and under and other children up to 17 years old may not visit the hospital during respiratory virus season.

No one, of any age, should visit the hospital if he or she has respiratory illness symptoms such as a runny nose, body aches or fever.

A limit of four visitors, including parents/guardians, will be allowed in a patient room at the same time.

This new patient safety policy is based on flu season practices already in place at other leading children’s hospitals across the nation.

“Patient safety is our top priority,” said Deb Brown, Dell Children’s vice president for patient care services and chief operating officer. “To ensure our young patients receive the safest care possible, we added these extra screening measures during a time of year where we see the most viruses.

“We regret that this will inconvenience some visitors, but we trust they will understand that it is our job to keep our patients as safe as possible,” Brown said. “What is just a cold to an otherwise healthy person can make our patients very, very sick or seriously complicate the health of children with cancer or heart and lung problems.”

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