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Hospital Visitor Screening

Last Updated: May 15, 2020


The Problem: To mitigate spread of the virus, our hospital implemented a ban on all visitors except for pediatric and obstetric patients and end of life visits. All of these visitors and the patients they accompanied must be screened for symptoms and sick contacts before entering the hospital. 

Our Approach: Patient Relations reached out to our Office of Student Affairs asking if medical students could assist with visitor screening. Our Dean of Student Affairs determined that all medical students were eligible to participate in this task and delegated it to our Task Force liaisons. Volunteers were then recruited to sit by the entrances to our affiliated hospitals and screen all ambulatory patients and visitors. Volunteers would sit at the hospitality desk by a cordoned-off hallway near the entrance, manned by a security guard. The security guard permitted everyone with a hospital ID to enter, but anyone without an ID was stopped for screening. Visitors were informed of hospital visitation policies and any visitor who was not permitted based on the restricted policies was turned away by the volunteers. Permitted visitors (parents of pediatric patients, one at a time, and one parent or spouse of obstetric patients) were asked whether they had symptoms themselves or if they had been in contact with anyone with symptoms or confirmed COVID-19 infection. If neither question was true, the visitor was given a visitor’s badge and allowed to enter after a temperature check confirming the patient was afebrile. If either question was true, the student volunteer would call the floor and ask whether the primary care team would like to permit this visitor and/or what additional precautions should be taken. Volunteers also fielded all packages dropped off for patients, confirming that they contained no food, drink, supplements, or medications. Volunteers called the floor to confirm that the package was appropriate and a non-student runner would bring the package to the floor. 

General Approach: We reached out to the Office of Student Affairs early in the process of developing clinical volunteering opportunities and established a structure for processing requests for clinical support from the hospital. The process comprises two stages from an administrative and student level.

Administrative Request: A centralized request form is submitted by the clinical team (i.e. faculty or administrator) with a description of the task, the estimated number of hours, and the estimated number of students requested. 

Vetting: The request is received by the Office of Student Affairs, which reviews the request and decides whether it is appropriate for student volunteering based on a number of factors, including usefulness, risks to students, and clinical expertise required. Those opportunities that are deemed inappropriate are sent back to requester. 

Triage: The Office of Student Affairs determines the level of clinical expertise needed to staff the request - e.g., whether MS2s or MS3s with clinical rotation experience are needed, vs. MS1s. The request is then forwarded to Clinical Support Liaison on the student level. 

Student Assignment: Based on the type of work requested, the Clinical Support Liaison assigns the task to one of several Task Forces responsible for coordinating all clinical requests related to a certain domain (e.g. Workplace Safety, Remote Clinical Work, etc.). 

Recruitment: Each Task Force leader recruits volunteers and ensures position requests are filled. 

Participants: All medical student classes.