New Debate Over Flowers and Balloon Restrictions in Hospitals - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Debate Over Flowers and Balloon Restrictions in Hospitals

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.– There is debate over what have long been some common ways of wishing someone well in a hospital. In some hospitals across the country, flowers and balloons have started to become banned in areas such as cardiac-care units, pediatrics, and labor and delivery units. At issue, the concern for increasing the risk of infection among other risks.

Dr. Chris Snyder, who is chief information officer for Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, said his hospital has not jumped on the band wagon when it comes to “No Flower/Balloon Zones."

"Our policy right now is that we don't really have a policy against bringing those types of things, unless there's something specific to each case," Snyder said.

Meanwhile, Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin does have a policy in place that restricts balloons and flowers from being in the Intensive Care Unit, a policy it says it has had in place for decades based on CDC recommendations.

 "We have such sick patients here, particularly in the ICU,” said Michaelann Frate, director of infection control and employee health at Atlantic General, “They really do not need any more chance of having to fight an infection."

Snyder said PRMC has not put a widespread policy in place for balloons and flowers. Instead, the hospital makes decisions on a case-by-case basis. Snyder says there is no real evidence that flowers and balloons are a substantial risk.

"Until I see some scientific evidence that tells me there is risk with this,” Snyder said, “I really would rather focus on other preventative measures for infection."

Currently, of the hospitals that responded to this story, none of them have a “No Flower/Balloon” zone beyond the ICU. The only two hospitals with that policy within the ICU are Atlantic General Hospital and Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford, Del.  The CDC’s only recommendation regarding latex balloons and flowers is to keep them away from patients with a compromised immune system. 

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