IHC takes add'l social distancing steps


As the COVID-19 crisis continues, University of Iowa Health Care is taking additional steps to protect patients and staff so it can continue to provide essential care while putting safety—in the form of social distancing—first.

“It is critical we maintain the highest levels of safety for our patients and staff, and that means limiting the number of people in our facilities so we can follow social distancing,” says Suresh Gunasekaran, MBA, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president for UI Health Care.

“University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics remains open for all essential health care services which means that over a thousand patients continue to come to our campus each day. To date, over 95% of these patients have no symptoms of COVID-19. All COVID-19 positive patients are kept in isolation. We are instituting these measures so that all patients can continue to come to our campus and know that they will be safe and taken care of.”

Beginning Wednesday, April 15, these temporary visitor restrictions will go into effect:

  • Adult patients: visits are temporarily suspended
  • Pediatric patients: one visitor per day (must be a parent or legal guardian)

The temporary restrictions apply to all UI Health Care patient care facilities, including UI Hospitals & Clinics, UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, offsite clinics, and UI QuickCare and UI Urgent Care locations until further notice.

A necessary next step in safety and preparedness

Gunasekaran acknowledges that the new measures are an unprecedented—yet necessary—next step to keep Iowans safe.

“UI Hospitals & Clinics will continue to go the extra mile in our COVID-19 preparations to keep Iowans safe,” he adds. “I apologize to families for this inconvenience. Our teams have done a lot of thoughtful planning to support communication and care decisions for families and patients while in our care. We’re here to support you.” 

Additional services provided to hospitalized patients

As part of the new measures, UI Health Care staff will serve as communication liaisons between hospitalized patients and the care team, providing daily updates to the patient’s designated point of contact, at the patient’s wish. For those inpatients who do not have their own communication device, a dedicated communications liaison will help with technology provided by the hospital.

UI Health Care staff will also provide mobility and interpreter assistance to patients who need this support.

Some exceptions apply

Visitor exceptions will be made for patients with unique conditions or circumstances. As an example, for inpatients, one visitor will be allowed for those who are:

  • Having a baby
  • In critical care
  • Facing end-of-life care decisions
  • In the Emergency Department

Visitors granted an exception must be age 18 or older and healthy, and all visitors and employees will continue to be screened for symptoms of COVID-19—a precaution that began in mid-March.

Hospital and clinics still open for patients with essential health needs

UI Hospitals & Clinics is still open to see patients for their essential medical care. Patients coming to any of the hospitals and clinics for appointments, procedures, or surgery should continue to feel safe because of the precautionary measures it continues to put in place.

For the latest COVID-19 information, visit uihc.org/coronavirus.