BANGOR — Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center continually monitors the patient care environment and makes adjustments to ensure everyone’s safety. In response to the surge of COVID-19 throughout the state and country, beginning Tuesday, Jan.11, visiting hours will shift to 2 to 4 p.m. daily.

The majority of adult inpatients will be permitted one visitor per stay between 2 and 4 p.m. daily. To limit exposure, it is recommended that the visitor is the patient’s spouse or someone who lives with them. This visitor will remain the same for the duration of the patient’s stay.

Another adjustment includes restricting visitors in the Emergency Department. Visitors are permitted only for patients who are unable to advocate for themselves or require a legal guardian. If a patient qualifies for a visitor, one support person is permitted 24 hours a day.

“Keeping our patients, visitors, and staff safe is our top priority. This change in visitation is necessary so we can continue to care for all patients in our community,” says Sarah E.D. Joy, SHRM-SCP, director, Patient Experience, Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. “Hearing from loved ones during the healing process is important and we recognize this change in visitation will be difficult. We encourage patients in the hospital to connect with family and friends by phone or video chat.”

There are circumstances where visitation may be adjusted, based on the medical needs of the patient. All requests for exception will be reviewed by nursing leadership. For additional information and specific conditions of visitation, see northernlighthealth.org/EMMCvisitors.

Patients who would like to use a communication device during their stay to connect with family or friends may call Patient Experience at 207-973-8110.

Adult patients coming for outpatient tests or appointments are encouraged to come alone unless it is necessary for a support person to assist with communication, disruptive behavior, or mobility needs. Outpatient appointments for pediatric patients may have two parents/guardians/primary caregivers.

Visitors must not show any signs of illness; be 18 years or older; meet screening requirements; and stay masked at all times, which means they may not eat or drink in the patient’s room.

To expedite COVID-19 screening at Northern Light Health entrances, individuals are encouraged to use the pre-screening tool online at northernlighthealth.org/covidcheck and show the result to screeners upon entry.