Visitors to the York Hospital Emergency Department will be required to present a form of identification to obtain a visitors' badge, beginning Wednesday.
The change is part of a new visitors' policy that goes into effect along with the opening of the renovated emergency department triage and seating area.
"The York Hospital Emergency Department is a very busy department. We're treating 77,000 patients a year, and it can be a hectic and chaotic environment at times," said Barry Sparks, spokesman for WellSpan. "The number of patients we treat has increased every year, but we have a limited amount of space in the treatment area."
Adjusting the visitors' policy and requiring visitors to present identification will help better manage visitor traffic and keep track of who is in the Emergency Department treatment area for safety purposes, Sparks said.
Although patients and visitors often enter the Emergency Department in a rush, the new process for visitors is simple and only takes a couple minutes, plus it will have lots of benefits, Sparks said.
Visitors will only be taken to the patient's bedside after the primary care team has seen the patient and deemed visitor presence to be appropriate.
In addition, visitor badges will be required to visit a patient in the emergency department treatment areas, and anyone without a badge will be escorted out.
Other rules: Children under age 12 will not be allowed into the emergency department treatment areas as visitors, and families will be required to make arrangements for child care if a child arrives at the hospital with an adult patient.
The new policy also states that emergency department patients are allowed up to two visitors at the bedside under normal circumstances.
In the past there was no set visitors policy or limit to the number of visitors allowed to be with a patient in the Emergency Department.
A committee with representatives from various departments at York Hospital including the emergency department, safety and security, imaging and customer service formed the new policy in an effort to establish uniform patterns for all visitors and patients, said Sparks.