"Healthy Visitor Policy" in place at U-M hospitals
With influenza activity now widespread across Michigan, the University of Michigan Health System is taking steps to prevent the spread of flu to its patients, who include many people from around the state who have conditions that make them especially vulnerable to dangerous complications from flu.
Hundreds of patients with suspected or confirmed flu have sought care from U-M clinics, emergency departments and hospitals -- including some who have required treatment in intensive care units. There are certain areas at our Health System where children under 12, or anyone with flu symptoms, are not allowed to visit. Read our visitor rules for more details.
For the safety of patients and staff, UMHS is observing a Healthy Visitor Policy, which urges those with a cold, cough or fever not to visit patients at our hospitals or accompany them to visits.
Of course, individuals who need medical attention for flu-like symptoms should continue to seek care from UMHS hospitals and clinics.
Flu-like symptoms – fever, along with a cough, sore throat, headache and/or body aches – can come on suddenly and last days. Even before an infected person has symptoms, he or she can spread the flu virus to others. (Read more on flu symptoms here)
Pregnant women are at special risk from the flu, and should both get vaccinated and stay away from people with flu-like symptoms.
To reduce the risk to uninfected patients, UMHS has implemented the following visitor restrictions and other safeguards:
- People with flu-like symptoms should not visit loved ones who are hospitalized at U-M’s University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, the U-M Cardiovascular Center and the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
- People with flu-like symptoms should not come to their loved ones’ outpatient appointments at U-M clinics and health centers, or come with them to the emergency room, if at all possible.
- Anyone with flu-like symptoms – whether they are a patient or a visitor who absolutely needs to come – must wear a mask while they are at any U-M Health System facility. Masks are available at entrance desks.
- In keeping with year-round policy, no children under the age of 12 will be allowed to visit any U-M hospital patient who has suspected or confirmed flu, or other conditions that cause staff to place them in a kind of protective status called “droplet precautions.”
- Exceptions to these restrictions can be granted by the patient’s care team.
- UMHS staff who have contact with patients must either have been vaccinated against the flu, or must wear a mask when they are with patients. If they develop symptoms, staff members must stay home until 24 hours after their fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and they have a controlled cough and respiratory symptoms.
There’s still plenty of flu vaccines available, and UMHS patients may contact their clinics and offices to arrange for vaccination. Washtenaw County residents can be vaccinated at the county Public Health department for $25, and can provide a receipt for private insurance or bill Medicaid (but not Medicare Part B). Vaccination is also available from retail stores, pharmacies, and many primary care health providers.
Although getting vaccinated does not guarantee a person won’t get the flu, it greatly reduces the chances.
For more information on flu and the flu vaccine, including a “Flu Vaccine Finder” that can help you find a vaccination location near you, visit www.flu.gov.
For U-M Health System patients:
- Get vaccinated at your U-M primary care office - If you’re already a patient at one of our Family Medicine, Pediatrics, General Internal Medicine, Medicine/Pediatrics or Obstetrics & Gynecology clinics, you will be able to receive your vaccine from your provider during an appointment. If you already have an appointment scheduled, ask to be vaccinated while you’re there.
- Get vaccinated at a U-M specialty care office - If you’re already in the care of a U-M specialist, you may be able to receive your flu vaccine at their clinic. Call to inquire!
- Keeping Our Patients Safe - The U-M Health System has joined dozens of health care institutions throughout the country in requiring staff to be vaccinated against flu or to wear a protective mask during any patient interaction during flu season. The requirement is designed to help protect the health of our patients and their families and will especially protect the many people we care for who have serious medical conditions and weakened immune systems.
Michigan Visiting Care's public flu clinic:
- For a listing of Michigan Visiting Care’s public flu clinics.
- Companies and organizations that wish to hire our Michigan Visiting Care to hold a flu vaccination clinic on-site may call (734) 477-7229.
Community Flu Clinics
UMHS Community Programs and Services, the Program for Multicultural Health, and Interpreter Services are partnering with the U-M School of Nursing, the U-M School of Public Health, and the U-M College of Pharmacy to provide free flu vaccines to those community members at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia, those who lack medical insurance, individuals with certain medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, chronic lung and heart disease), pregnant women, people age 65+, and anyone living with or caring for others who are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu. For more information, please contact Tammara Smith at 734-998-2156.
For University of Michigan faculty, staff and students:
Every member of the U-M community is encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu, and for many U-M Health System community members, vaccination or protective mask use will be required this flu season to protect our patients and visitors. Reminder: You must have your blue hospital registration card to receive a flu vaccination.
- Health System faculty, staff, students, vendors, contractors and volunteers: From a UMHS computer, visit www.med.umich.edu/u/flu/ for full information about vaccination requirements, where to get vaccinated, and more.