Visitor Information | MedStar St. Mary's Hospital | MedStar Health

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital Patient Visitation Guidelines

Effective April 10, 2022

  • Face masks (N95 respirators or procedure masks) are optional for all asymptomatic patients and visitors, including those in clinical areas.
  • Patients can request providers and staff wear a face mask in their treatment area.
  • Face masks will be available onsite for patients and visitors.

MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital previously implemented the following guidelines for patient visitation:

  • Emergency Department

    • 24-hour visitation is encouraged in the Emergency Department
    • Patients may have a support person who is not considered a visitor and is welcome at any time.
    • Patients may have two (2) visitors.
    • Learn what to expect during a visit to our Emergency Department with this guide.
  • Inpatients (hospitalized patients)

    General visitation guidelines

    • Visitors should access the hospital through the main entrance from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday - Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday - Sunday. Outside of these hours please enter through the Emergency Department entrance.
    • Visitors under the age of 16 must be supervised by an adult visitor (not the patient) at all times.

  • Women’s Health & Family Birthing Center (Labor & Delivery, Postpartum)

    • Labor and delivery visitation is 24/7, up to three people may attend a stable mother's vaginal delivery including the main support person (at the discretion of the provider).
    • Postpartum visiting hours are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
    • Postpartum visitors are limited to four at one time per room not including the main support person and siblings.
    • Postpartum visitors must be over the age of 5 years unless they are a sibling of the new baby. Children that are allowed to visit must be healthy and accompanied by an adult. Non sibling children are counted as visitors.
    • The designated support person over 18 years old is permitted to stay overnight with the postpartum patient.
  • Behavioral Health Unit

    • Visiting hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays, with no more than two visitors per patient.
    • Visitors under the age of 12 years are allowed with permission of the nurse. Special exceptions can be made at the discretion of the psychiatrist. Visitors may not spend the night on this unit.
  • Overnight Visitors

    • One family member, domestic partner, or designee may be able to stay overnight with the patient based on the discretion of the patient’s clinician.
    • Only one guest can remain overnight in the patient room.

Exceptions to visitation guidelines

The clinical care team may determine exceptions to the general visitation guidelines on a case-by-case basis in situations such as:

  • Patients who are COVID-19 positive or a person under investigation (PUI)
  • Visitation may be altered or reduced at the clinician’s discretion based on the patient’s condition and need for rest.

    Patient support persons

    Patients with disabilities may designate a support person to accompany them throughout their visit or stay. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Minor, temporary, or transient conditions (of less than six months) are generally not considered a disability but will be reviewed by an individualized assessment. The support person does not count as a visitor and is welcome at any time. The designation of a support person will be documented in the patient’s record.

    Additional Support Person Information:

    A support person may be a family member, personal care assistant, similar disability service provider, or other individual knowledgeable about the management or care of the patient who is authorized to assist the patient in making decisions.

    • This support person may be required to address: 1) needs that are not visually apparent to someone who does not know them (e.g., discomfort, hunger, thirst, pain); 2) changes in their symptoms; 3) needs related to a history of trauma; 4) emotional self-regulation and anxiety management to prevent unnecessary use of physical and chemical restraints.
    • Support persons for hospitalized patients with disabilities will be permitted to safely eat, drink, and use a restroom while present in the facility, provided proper precautions are taken to contain the spread of infection.
    • Other reasonable accommodations for patients with disabilities may be approved by clinical leadership according to the needs of the patient, provided the accommodations comply with all infection prevention policies.
    • Patients with disabilities who are hospitalized for more than one day may designate two support persons, but only one support person may be present at a time. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
    • Ambulatory patients with disabilities may designate one support person who may accompany the patient during an ambulatory (outpatient) visit. All support persons for patients with disabilities will remain with the patient or in a designated waiting area depending on the needs of the patients and the nature of the procedure (e.g., surgery, x-rays, etc.).
    • Point of contact person is the administrator on call or clinical leadership in ambulatory setting to support and address any questions.
    • Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by senior leadership.


    Patients with a disability but without a support person

    • If a patient with a disability does not have a support person present during the patient’s visit or stay, MedStar Health will provide necessary aids and services and ensure effective communication and equal access to health care. MedStar Health recognizes its ongoing obligation to provide patients with effective communication support consistent with applicable federal or state law and regulations.

    Patient with a disability requesting religious services

    • Patients may receive religious services from the clergy of their choice at any reasonable time if it can be provided without disruption to care. Clergy will not count as patient’s visitor.

    Visitor information

    MedStar St. Mary's Hospital has a strong commitment to customer service. It is our philosophy that visitation of family and friends be as unrestrictive as possible. On a case-by-case basis, limitations may need to be made due to the clinical condition of the patient or at a patient's request. Since we believe visitors play a vital role in supporting loved ones and friends, we'll do our best to make you feel welcome and comfortable during your time with us.

    Our main entrance is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

    Please note: restricted visiting hours are in effect due to COVID-19. Please reference the policy above or call our hospital at 301-475-8981 for the most up-to-date information before visiting.

    Visitor policies by department

    Emergency department

    Visitors in the Emergency Department are permissible at the discretion of the nurse and/or physician caring for the patient. As a rule, the number of visitors will be restricted to two. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis. Visitors may need to leave under certain conditions as determined by the physician. The Emergency Department entrance is open 24 hours a day.

    Intensive care center visitor information

    Please feel free to use the visitor's lounge located outside the Intensive Care Center. When you are ready to visit, please pick up the phone in the waiting area; the nurse will respond as quickly as possible to tell you when you may visit. Visitation may be altered or reduced at the nurse or doctor's discretion. Visitors may not be present during a Code Blue unless deemed appropriate by the physician in charge of the code. Visiting children must be attended by an adult, other than the patient. Children may not be left unattended with patients and must be without a fever.

    A family member or significant other is welcome to stay overnight with loved ones. It is requested that only one guest remain overnight in the patient room. A sofa bed is available in most patient care areas for this purpose. When additional guests desire to stay overnight, alternative accommodations will be suggested on a case-by-case basis. However, MedStar St. Mary's Hospital is not obligated to accommodate an overnight stay.

    Women's Health & Family Birthing Center visitor information

    A telephone is provided just outside of the unit to assist visitors in gaining entry to patient rooms. The following is MedStar St. Mary's Hospital's Women's Health & Family Birthing Center visitor policy.

    Behavioral Health services visitor information

    Visiting hours on the Behavioral Health unit are 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays. You are welcome to have visitors during your hospitalization. All visitors must sign in and out at the nurses’ station. Former patients may not return to visit for a period of 30 days after discharge. Visitors of all ages are allowed. For more information, call Behavioral Health at 301-475-6227.

    General guidelines

    For the safety and security of our patients and their families, all visitors to the inpatient areas must sign in at the front desk and must wear a visitor's badge issued at sign-in. The badge should be displayed on a visible article of clothing throughout your visit. Also, please note that smoking is not permitted on hospital grounds.

    For pediatric patients, parents or guardians are encouraged to stay with a pediatric patient at all times.

    Condition reports

    Any personal information about a patient's diagnosis and treatment must come from the patient's physician; this information is only given to a member of the immediate family who the patient designates as family spokesperson.


    An adult, besides the patient, must accompany all visiting children. Children must not be left unattended. They may enter patient care areas only if they are healthy at the time of the visit.

    Please note: For the privacy and safety of our patients, children accompanying an adult to any outpatient services (laboratory tests, imaging tests etc.), under the age of 13, are not permitted in the exam rooms and may not be left unattended in the waiting area.

    Overnight visitors

    A family member or significant other is welcome to stay overnight with a loved one in single rooms. It is requested that only one guest remain overnight in the patient room. A sofa bed is available in most patient care areas for this purpose. When additional guests wish to stay overnight, alternative accommodations will be suggested on a case-by-case basis. The hospital is not obligated to accommodate an overnight stay.

    Chapel and Meditation Room

    The Chapel and the Meditation Room are adjacent to each other and located on the first floor. Visitors of all faiths are welcome to visit these areas for prayer and meditation. The Chapel is generally used by individuals of all denominations who are Christian. The Meditation Room is used by people who are of other faiths. We have several copies of the Torah, Quran, New Testament, and the Psalms, which are available on loan from the Volunteer Office.

    Women’s Health and Family Birthing Center

    The Women’s Health and Family Birthing Center at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital adheres to the following visitation guidelines for the safety and comfort of all our patients and visitors. Our guidelines include:

    • 24-hour visiting hours for labor patients

    • Postpartum visiting hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    • All visitors must be free of signs of active illness (i.e., fever, cough, vomiting)

    • Visitors must be over age 5 unless they are siblings of the newborn

    • All children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The responsible adult cannot be the patient herself

    • Patients may have unlimited visitors; however, they must rotate out for a maximum of four visitors in the room at one time

    • The support person with the second matching newborn ID band and siblings to the newborn do not count as visitors

    • Patients may have their support person stay with them overnight, but he or she must be over age 18, unless it is the newborn’s father

    • The overnight support person is asked to be properly clothed at all times and not to sleep in the patient’s bed. A convertible sofa is provided, but a twin-size inflatable mattress may be brought in and used by those who need special sleeping accommodations. The inflatable mattress cannot be laid directly next to the patient bed for safety purposes. Linens and pillows will be provided to the overnight support person, if available

    • Meals and snacks are provided to the patient only

    • Visitors may be asked to leave the patient’s room promptly if the mother’s condition warrants

    • To ensure the safety and confidentiality of our patients, visitors should not congregate in the hallways or nursing stations. A visitor lounge is provided outside our locked double doors for those times that visitors cannot be at the patient’s bedside

    • A “Lullaby Time” is offered daily from 2 to 4 p.m. to all new mothers. Visitors and phone calls will be held during this time. Essential nursing care will continue

    • Three observers (including the father of the baby) may attend a stable mother’s delivery. Crowd control during the delivery process ensures everyone’s safety

    • Visitor rotation may resume after the delivery once the recovery process is complete and both mother and newborn are stable

    •  A mother desiring her minor child(ren) to attend the delivery must notify her midwife, physician, or nurse of her wishes prior to the active phase of labor. He/she must be accompanied by an adult who is prepared to immediately leave the room with the child if the mother’s condition becomes unstable or the child becomes fearful. Any children observing the delivery count in the total number of observers

    • Photography and videography are allowed during the delivery, but with specific guidelines. Please speak with your nurse/ midwife/physician about these, along with our social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) restrictions regarding posting and “tagging” photographs/videos that feature our healthcare team members

    • During times of public health crisis, such as an influenza pandemic, additional restrictions may apply in order to protect the health of the mother and the newborn

    • Exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis when there are extenuating circumstances

    Gift Shop


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    The interior of Medstar St Mary's Hospital's Blue Heron Cafe

    The Blue Heron Café

    Located on the first floor


    6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.


    11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


    Select items are available for order through the Everyday food app and the kiosk located inside The Blue Heron Café.

    Download the Everyday app for easy ordering!
    A select menu is available from the app, including sandwiches, snacks, and more.
    Visit to learn more. Available for Android and iPhone.