Samaritan Health Services has implemented a new visitor policy at its hospitals in Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, Newport and Lincoln City, as well as the mental health inpatient facility in Corvallis. (File photo by Samaritan Health Services)

In response to fewer hospitalizations related to COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses, Samaritan Health Services announced the implementation of a new visitor policy for hospital and mental health patients.

The visitor policy has relaxed to allow each inpatient to designate two visitors and one or more support people — with one support person allowed at a time. As a result, there can generally be up to three people with a patient at a time with up to two visitors and one support person.

“Samaritan understands the benefits of having loved ones and support at the bedside and as conditions change we are happy to adapt to improve the experience,” Wendie Wunderwald, vice president of Patient Care Services for Samaritan’s Lebanon Community Hospital, said through a press release.

The policy covers Samaritan’s hospitals in Corvallis, Albany Lebanon, Newport and Lincoln City, as well as the mental health inpatient facility in Corvallis.

Medical-grade face masks are still required at all Samaritan hospitals, patient care departments and clinics per Oregon Health Authority requirements.

Other provisions of the new visitor policy include:

• Patients at the end of life may have more visitors, with the number of visitors decided in consultation with the care team.

• Clergy may visit at any time with patient/family consent and does not count toward the visitor and support-person limit.

• Visitors may be asked to temporarily leave a care area at the discretion of the care team for patient care or safety reasons.

Additional restrictions or special exceptions for mental health patients, emergency department patients, pediatric patients and obstetric patients are detailed in Samaritan’s visitor policy, the organization said.