Fact check: Are coronavirus patients dying alone in hospitals?

Fact check: Are coronavirus patients dying alone in hospitals?

The claim: Coronavirus patients are dying alone in hospitals

As the number of globally confirmed cases of the coronavirus climbs, hospitals are scrambling to accommodate patients while also ensuring the health and safety of staff.

One Facebook post urged people to think about the patients who are dying alone in hospitals before they leave the house. The post was shared about 7,900 times since March 31.

Hospital accommodations for coronavirus patients range from designating specific units for COVID-19 treatment, asking retired staff to return to work and limiting visitor interaction.

While regulations vary by hospital and by state, in order to prevent more community spread, hospitals in all 50 states, and across the world, are barring visitors.

There is no sweeping regulation that prohibits visitors, but many hospitals have implemented a no-visitor policy.

For example, MedStar Health, the Washington, D.C., area, released new guidelines for all of its hospitals, that went into effect on April 3, stating no visitors are permitted at any hospital location. Any exceptions were subject to high-level approval. The University of Chicago Medical Center implemented a visitor restriction policy that gives a one-visitor exception for labor and delivery.

Most hospitals that have implemented these restrictions are only making exceptions for patients receiving end-of-life care, children who have been hospitalized and women in labor.

It is unknown what factors are taken into consideration when determining visitor allowance, especially if the patient has been infected with the coronavirus. Hospitals evaluate each visitation request on a case-by-case basis.

Northwell Health in New York is requiring its hospitals to suspend all visitation unless there is an extraordinary circumstance. The hospital system has provided for some exceptions that require a visitor has not been exposed to COVID-19.

Under such policies across the country, implementation of visitor restrictions falls typically to individual hospitals, but those decisions could be overruled if state or federal government steps in.

The New York-Presbyterian hospital system barred all visitors after discovering multiple patients in its labor and delivery units had the coronavirus, despite showing minimal or no symptoms. Following this move, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order requiring all medical facilities licensed by the state to allow one visitor for patients in labor.

The CDC released a hospital preparedness checklist to help prepare hospitals for the event of a community outbreak. It includes several suggestions on visitation and communicating hospital policies on visitation rules.

Limits on visitors have taken an emotional toll on health care workers as well as the families of patients who have died alone. These deaths in isolation have prompted health care workers and officials to question when patients can have visitors or if it should be allowed at all.

Our ruling: Partly true

The post claiming coronavirus patients are dying alone has been rated PARTLY TRUE because it is partly supported by our research. While there is not a sweeping, national regulation barring all visitors from all facilities across the country, many hospitals have implemented no-visitor policies or minimal visitor interaction policies and some states, like New York, have imposed limits on visitation as well.

Exceptions to these policies and limitations generally have been made for patients receiving end-of-life care, hospitalized children and women in labor. Sincerequests for visitation are generally being evaluated on a case-by-case basis by each hospital, the factors taken into consideration are inconsistent and unknown.

Our fact-check sources:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Hospitals: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19University of Chicago Medicine, Visitor Policy Changes at UChicago Medicine for COVID-19Northwell Health, Updated hospital visitor policyNew York Times, ‘Women Will Not Be Forced to Be Alone When They Are Giving Birth’New York Times, Italy’s Coronavirus Victims Face Death Alone, With Funerals Postponed CDC, Comprehensive Hospital Preparedness Checklist for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)New York Dept. of Health, Health Advisory: COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Operators Regarding Visitation Updated Guidance regarding Obstetrical and Pediatric SettingsNew York Times, Nurses Die, Doctors Fall Sick and Panic Rises on Virus Front LinesPeople are dying alone because of the coronavirus. This journalist told the story of a nurse trying to help families stay connected.MedStar Health visitor policiesNew York Times, 'A Heart-Wrenching Thing’: Hospital Bans on Visits Devastate FamiliesNurses work outside of the room of a coronavirus patient at MedStar St. Mary's Hospital April 8, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. MedStar St. Marys Hospital is located near the greater Washington, DC area in St. Marys County, Maryland.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/04/09/fact-check-coronavirus-patients-dying-alone-hospitals/5114282002/

News Related

ORTHER NEWS

Trump’s ‘mission accomplished’ moment is premature and deadly. We have not defeated COVID.

Desperate for crowds and adoration, Trump has put his most fervent supporters at risk of getting a deadly disease. Future historians will be astonished. Read more »

NFLPA president JC Tretter says NFL is putting season, players at risk with its coronavirus approach

NFL Players Association president JC Tretter said Tuesday the NFL is putting the 2020 season at risk with its coronavirus approach, calling on the league to better “prioritize player safety.” “Like many other... Read more »

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he tested positive for the coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested positive for COVID-19 after months of downplaying the virus’ severity. Bolsonaro confirmed the test results while wearing a mask and... Read more »

Venice Film Festival forges ahead amid COVID-19 pandemic with reduced lineup

The show will go on for the Venice Film Festival in September, but with a few modifications due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers said Tuesday that they are pushing forward with plans for... Read more »

Amtrak offers buy-one, get-one promotion on its sleeper trains amid COVID-19 — with a catch

Amtrak wants you to have sweet dreams the next time you travel — so much so that it’s sweetening the deal on its sleeper “roomettes.” The rail service is offering a buy-one-get-one-free discount... Read more »

Florida teen treated with hydroxychloroquine at home before dying of COVID-19, report says

FORT MEYERS, Fla. – The family of a 17-year-old Florida girl who died last month from COVID-19 treated her symptoms at home for nearly a week before taking her to a hospital, a... Read more »

Mookie Betts worried MLB coronavirus testing woes could prevent him from ever playing for Dodgers

During nearly four months away from the game, Mookie Betts said he “stayed away from baseball to keep myself sane.” It’s not hard to understand why. The 2018 American League Most Valuable Player... Read more »

Tom Hanks doesn’t get ‘how common sense has somehow been put into question’ with coronavirus

Read more »

Can Gov. DeSantis force Florida schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic? Some school leaders seem doubtful.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As concern about the state order spread online, some school leaders said: Not so fast. As Florida educators puzzle over how to start the new academic year, Gov. Ron... Read more »

Texas surpasses 200,000 coronavirus cases after 4th of July holiday weekend

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas reached 200,000 total COVID-19 cases Monday, just 17 days after crossing the 100,000 threshold, a figure that took the state nearly four months to hit. The grim milestone came... Read more »