Coronavirus

CDC Coronavirus Illustration
Image from the CDC.

During this unprecedented time with COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are committed to caring for the health needs of our patients. To minimize risk to our patients and staff, we are implementing the measures described below. This page will be updated as new information becomes available.

We encourage patients in need of additional guidance to remain in contact with their physician’s office.

The registered nurses in our Patient Care Coordination Center also are available at 314-747-3046 or toll-free at 800-600-3606 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

View address from Siteman Director Tim Eberlein, MD


Visitation Restrictions

To ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff, BJC HealthCare has a limited visitor policy in place. These restrictions are not related to local community stay-home ordinances. BJC hospitals and health service organizations are limiting visitors due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the community, which is expected to continue over the coming months. Our restrictions are designed to protect patients, their families, and our staff and providers by further limiting the risk of exposure.

Limited visitors are permitted in certain circumstances, outlined below. The approved visitor(s) is/are the only visitor(s) for that day, with exceptions for end of life.

Emergency Department:

Emergency Department patients may have one designated visitor; Visitors are encouraged to consider alternate locations to wait, if available – car, home, etc.

Scheduled Outpatient or Same-Day-Admit Surgery

Surgical patients falling into this category may have one visitor in the waiting room or designated area throughout the procedure. If a surgical patient is admitted or moved to an inpatient unit after the procedure, the inpatient setting’s visitor policy would apply once moved.

Outpatient Appointments:

Patients with an appointment in a BJC or WUSM outpatient setting or procedural area may have one designated visitor. During telephone screening for outpatient medical appointments, adult patients should be encouraged to come alone when possible.

Inpatient:

Inpatient visitors are restricted; however, the following EXCEPTIONS are pre-approved:

  • Obstetrics patients may have two designated visitors. (This includes certified doulas or birthing coaches.)
  • Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care patients may have two designated visitors, who must remain in the patient room for the duration of the visit.
  • Patients who require complicated patient or caregiver education prior to discharge may have one designated visitor attend the discharge education session if education cannot be provided through any other mechanisms.
  • Pediatric patients may have two designated visitors on the inpatient units. For the purposes of this policy, pediatric patients are defined as patients under 21 years of age.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors at the bedside at a time. (Visitors may switch out throughout the day). Visitors not currently with the patient should practice social distancing while in the hospital and try to avoid congregating in waiting or public areas.
  • Patients with behavioral health needs, developmental delays or altered mental status, or physical dependencies or limitations, for whom a family member or caregiver is integral to their care or safety may have one visitor. Altered mental status resulting from medication-induced sedation in an intensive care unit setting is not included in this exception.

Virtual visitors through Zoom

In person visitors are not permitted in most inpatient care settings. Patients are encouraged to have Virtual Visitors by utilizing phone calls, FaceTime and other virtual methods to keep connected with their loved ones during their stay with us. The care team is required to help facilitate virtual visits through the BJC Virtual Visitor Program.

Through these scheduled visits, patients can visit with many family members and loved ones at once. Review the instructions on how to participate in this program.

For visitors who fall within the exceptions above, please note:

  • You will be required to wear a mask while in the building.
  • You will be screened before entering.
  • Anyone experiencing signs of illness will not be allowed to visit.
  • You must not have had contact with someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Anyone under age 16 is not permitted.
  • You must wash your hands.
  • You must remain in the patient’s room for the duration of your visit, with temporary exceptions to visit cafeteria, chapel, restroom, etc., provided you return to the patient’s room directly. You must notify the care team when leaving and returning to the unit.
  • The approved visitor(s) is/are the only visitor(s) for that day.
  • If you develop any symptoms, immediately notify the patient’s care team.

We recognize the importance of family and friends to our patients and regret the inconvenience these temporary restrictions may cause you. We will continue to evaluate this policy regularly. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during these difficult times.

Masks must be worn inside BJC facilities starting Wednesday, May 6

Starting Wednesday, May 6, BJC will launch a universal masking policy. That means anybody who enters a hospital or HSO must be wearing a mask – including all team members, patients and visitors.

  • Team members with patient contact will continue to wear hospital-grade PPE per the PPE guidelines, but will need to wear a personal cloth mask upon entry and when moving about the building.
  • Team members for whom PPE is not required will need to wear a personal mask to work. If a personal mask is not available – cloth or homemade mask– the HSO will provide an isolation mask.
  • All employees will receive two cloth masks in the mail by approximately May 14. To conserve supply of PPE for caregivers who require it, please wear your personal cloth masks when not in a PPE-required setting.

Siteman screening appointments

Mammography

If it’s time for your annual mammogram, or if you’ve missed it, our Washington University breast specialists are here for you – with expanded hours, including Saturdays, and the latest 3D technology.

Appointments are available for our mobile mammography van (see locations here) and the four centers below. To schedule a time, click here, or call toll-free 800-600-3606 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

For your safety and ours, no walk-ins are being accepted, to provide staff extra time to thoroughly clean exam areas and equipment after each appointment. Other safety measures include:

  • A temperature check and screening questions before entry
  • Masks for patients and staff members
  • Physical distancing in waiting areas

Lung cancer screening

Siteman Cancer Center is resuming low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screenings at all locations, beginning May 26. Staff members are calling patients to reschedule any appointments canceled because of the pandemic. We also are scheduling appointments for patients who are due for an annual screening.

All diagnostic screenings and procedures and biopsies have continued, as normal.

As a safety precaution, all exam areas and equipment is thoroughly cleaned after each appointment. Other safety measures include:

  • A temperature check and screening questions before entry
  • Masks for patients and staff members
  • Physical distancing in waiting areas

If you have questions about a lung cancer screening appointment, please call 314-747-3046. Newly diagnosed lung cancer patients also may call the registered nurses in our Patient Care Coordination Center, toll-free at 800-600-3606 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Insurance concerns

We recognize the ongoing needs of patients who have lost or might lose their insurance coverage during treatment, possibly due to a layoff or furlough. Active chemotherapy treatment patients are encouraged to call their medical oncologist’s office for possible financial assistance for cancer drugs. For other matters, patients may call the registered nurses in our Patient Care Coordination Center at 314-747-3046 or toll-free at 800-600-3606 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Medical Oncology and Radiation Oncology Office Visits

To minimize exposure for our patients and staff, our physicians will use their discretion to reschedule some preventative/wellness visits. If your wellness visit is to be rescheduled, a member of our staff will contact you. For ongoing medical treatment/follow-up visits, please see below.

For patients with follow-up visits, we are working to transition some of these visits to telephone visits, allowing patients to speak with their physician or a nurse practitioner on the phone.

All patients with suspicious symptoms or exposure history who contact our clinic will undergo screening over the phone for COVID-19 (coronavirus) symptoms and travel and exposure history. Based on this information, we will determine which patients are best served by coming to clinic, receiving telephone-based supportive care at home from us or being referred to the appropriate public health department for additional conversation.

In the office

  • All patients will be screened for fever, symptoms and travel and exposure history at the front desk when they arrive.
  • Any patient with fever or respiratory symptoms will have a mask placed on them and be escorted to a private room as soon as possible, with the door to be closed.
  • All patients will be taken to an exam room as quickly as possible upon their arrival. Our goal is to minimize your time in public spaces, such as the waiting room and hallway.
  • Additionally, our staff regularly cleans all surfaces in the common clinic areas, including in the waiting room and bathrooms, and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles.

Transportation

A number of our patients are asking what transportation options are available for getting to a medical appointment. We have compiled this information below and will update it as we learn more.

In general, we advise that you schedule any transportation as far in advance as possible.

Operating as usual

  • Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services
  • Cab companies, including Laclede Cab, St. Louis County Cab, Yellow Taxi and St. Charles Yellow Cab

Operating on modified schedules

Newly diagnosed cancer patients or anyone with general questions about cancer treatments or appointments at Siteman may call our Patient Care Coordination Center at 314-747-3046 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Established Siteman patients with questions about their treatment or appointments should contact their physician’s office.

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Hotline

If you suspect that you or a family member has COVID-19 (coronavirus) or has been exposed to it, please call BJC HealthCare’s special hotline, 314-747-8899, for guidance. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

For assistance unrelated to COVID-19 (coronavirus):

  • Newly diagnosed cancer patients or anyone with general questions about cancer treatments or appointments at Siteman may call our Patient Care Coordination Center at 314-747-3046 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • Established Siteman patients should contact their physician’s office.

Supportive Services

Siteman Psychology Service

We are adhering to national and BJC HealthCare-specific guidelines and recommendations that are ever-evolving. Therefore, we are transitioning all psychological services to a telehealth (i.e., telephone or videoconference) care model. This transition will enable us to still meet the needs of our patients without physically being present in clinic.

All Siteman patients who have already been established with the Siteman Psychology Service will be contacted and scheduled for ongoing telehealth sessions with one of our psychologists.

We are still taking new patients, but these appointments may be delayed as we work to transition care. To contact the Siteman Psychology Service for scheduling or questions, call 314-747-5587.

Patients and families can also reference this page for tips on coping during this time.

Other Support Services

For the safety of our patients and team members, we have suspended the following non-essential supportive services until further notice:

  • Psychology Groups (including Weight Management, Mindfulness and Stress Management at the Center for Advanced Medicine)
  • Yoga/Exercise classes
  • Massage therapy
  • Therapeutic horticulture
  • Musicians
  • Pet therapy
  • Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program
  • Young Adult Survivor Exercise Program

If you have any questions related to these support services, please call our Barnard Health and Cancer Information Center, at 314-362-7844.