Wall Street Journal Details Hospital Bans on Flowers, Balloons - safnow.org
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Wall Street Journal Details Hospital Bans on Flowers, Balloons

by | Jun 16, 2016 | Floral Industry News | 0 comments

A recent story in The Wall Street Journal detailed hospital policies on flowers, plants and balloons. The fresh flower program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, mentioned in the story, “places seasonal blooms at the bedside of every incoming patient and offers flower-arranging classes for interested patients.” PHOTO: MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER

The Wall Street Journal detailed hospital policies on flowers, plants and balloons. The fresh flower program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, mentioned in the story, “places seasonal blooms at the bedside of every incoming patient and offers flower-arranging classes for interested patients.” PHOTO: MEMORIAL SLOAN KETTERING CANCER CENTER

A recent story in The Wall Street Journal cautioned readers not to bring flowers, plants and balloons to loved ones in the hospital without first checking with the facility.

“Some health-care facilities are tightening restrictions on where flowers, plants, balloons and other cheery items are allowed, citing concerns about the potential for infection, among other risks,” wrote Melinda Beck for the Journal.

As Beck noted, “most intensive-care units have been no-flower zones for decades.” The shift, she said is that “many hospitals now have banned latex balloons out of concern for latex allergies. Now, some are extending limitations to ICU step-down units, cardiac-care units, pediatrics, labor and delivery units.”

In New York City, Nic Faitos of Starbright Floral Design, said the article — which highlighted several hospitals in the Big Apple — was “an old story rehashed.”

“We have not seen any hospital rule changes in NYC for years,” he said. “We have compiled a list of hospitals and each one’s individual rules. We abide by them and do not experience any problems.”

Those rules do occasionally require the shop to educate customers on hospital policies and offer workarounds, he said, noting that some hospitals prohibit deliveries after 4 p.m., and many medical procedures, including labor and delivery, now include only a brief hospital stay.

“We sometimes say, ‘It is past the hour that the hospital accepts flower deliveries. We will try to get them up there for you. If not, it has to be in the morning,’” Faitos said, adding that his team will also sometimes “suggest diverting the delivery to the home where are best enjoyed for a longer time.”

The Journal story noted that “evidence linking flowers and plants to outbreaks of infection or illness in individual patients is minimal,” according to infectious-disease experts.

“This is one of the issues where there’s a paucity of evidence, and when that happens in infection control, one of our goals is always to keep the patient safe,” said Susan Dolan, president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. “It’s not cut-and-dried, if you’ll pardon the pun, which is why you see a spectrum of what hospitals will and won’t allow.”

Read the story, which includes information on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Fresh Flower Program, which places “seasonal blooms at the bedsides of all new in-patients and throughout the hospital, and the program offers interested patients weekly flower-arranging classes.” (Flowers are banned in the hospital’s ICUs, operating rooms and transplant units.)

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