Temporary Visitor Policies and Guidance During COVID-19

Revised October 2, 2020 
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MedStar Health has put temporary restrictions and guidance for patient visitors in place at all of our care locations. Visitor restrictions are subject to change. Please use the following restrictions and guidance until further notice to help safeguard our patients, associates, physicians, and communities
 

General Guidance

  • All potential visitors will be screened for symptoms or recent diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Any approved visitors must check-in at the front desk and wear a face mask throughout the duration of their visit.
  • All approved visitors must follow proper infection prevention practices, including masking, hand washing/sanitizing, and physical distancing.
  • No visitors under the age of 18 are permitted unless they are parents of pediatric patients.
  • Patients with disabilities may have a support person accompany them during their visit or stay with a healthcare provider.

Guidelines for Visitors

When visitors are permitted:
  • Only one person may visit per day in hospital locations.
  • Visiting hours are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for inpatients and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for acute rehabilitation patients.
  • All approved visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, and will not be permitted to visit if they have symptoms.
  • Any visitor who lives in the same household as any COVID-19 positive person is not permitted to visit except in end of life situations.
  • COVID-19 positive visitors who were not hospitalized are allowed to visit 10 days after symptoms have ended.
  • All approved visitors must check-in at the front desk and wear a face mask throughout the duration of their visit.
    • Approved visitors are expected to bring their own face mask. If they do not have one, a non-procedural face mask will be provided.
  • Family members or friends of any approved visitors will not be permitted to enter the facility or to wait in lobbies or common areas, including any/all areas of the hospital—lobbies, waiting areas, common spaces, chapels, cafeteria, food court, bank, and/or any other area within the care location.
  • Family, friends, and loved ones are encouraged to use electronic devices and applications (apps) to connect with patients (i.e., smartphones, tablets, FaceTime, Skype, etc.)

Visitors for Patients Who Are COVID-19 Positive or Persons Under Investigation (PUI)

Medical Practices and Urgent Care Locations

  • ONE visitor may accompany a patient. (this visitor will remain with the patient or in a designated waiting area.)

Inpatient Unit or Acute Care Rehabilitation

  • To help prevent the spread of the disease, patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 may not have visitors.

Exceptions for COVID-19 Positive or Persons Under Investigation

There are limited exceptions to the visitor restriction. Exceptions must be approved by leadership (Vice President of Medical Affairs and/or Chief Nursing Officer).

Outpatient Oncology

  • No visitors are permitted in our cancer infusion locations due to increased risk to immunocompromised patients.

Emergency Department

  • No visitors will be allowed unless they meet a previous exception. (i.e., children, disability, having surgery, end of life.)

Undergoing Surgery

  • ONE visitor/guardian may accompany the patient.

At End of Life (Inpatient or Emergency Department)

  • Up to TWO visitors (at the same time) are allowed at the bedside (this includes visitors who live in the same household as the patient.

Pediatrics/NICU (Inpatient)

  • ONE parent or guardian who must stay in the patient room or designated areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Requesting Religious Services

  • Patients may receive religious services from the religious leaders of their choice at any reasonable time if it can be provided without disruption to care.(Religious leader will not count as the patient's visit.)

Visitors for Patients Who Are Non-COVID-19 Positive or Non-PUI

Medical Practices and Urgent Care Locations

  • ONE visitor may accompany a patient. (This visitor will remain with the patient or in a designated waiting area.)

Inpatient Unit

  • Inpatients may have ONE visitor during visiting hours. Only ONE person may visit per day; however, the visitor can vary from day to day.
  • Visiting hours are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Check specific facilities for further information. (the duration of a visit is contingent on the patient's condition)

Acute Care Rehabilitation

  • ONE visitor, per patient for the entire stay, seven days per week.
  • Visitor must be the same person.
  • Visiting hours begin at 4 p.m. to accommodate therapy sessions and end at 7 p.m.
  • Exceptions must be considered by clinical leadership.

Exceptions for Non-COVID-19 Positive or Non-PUI Patients

There are limited exceptions to the visitor restriction. Exceptions must be approved by leadership (Vice President of Medical Affairs and/or Chief Nursing Officer).

At End of Life

  • Up to TWO visitors (at the same time) are allowed at the bedside without restrictions on time of day.

NICU (Inpatient)

  • ONE parent or guardian at a time who must stay in the designated area.
  • No restriction on hours.

Pediatrics (Inpatient)

  • ONE parent or guardian may visit, one at the bedside at a time.
  • Parents/guardians may leave and re-enter once per day.
  • No restrictions on hours.
  • Sibling visits will be considered by hospital leadership on a case-by-case basis.

Undergoing Surgery

  • ONE visitor/guardian may accompany the patient.

Pediatrics/NICU (Inpatient)

  • ONE parent or guardian who must stay in the patient room or designated areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Emergency Department

  • No visitors will be allowed unless they meet a previous exception (i.e., children, disability, having surgery, end of life.)

Labor & Delivery (Inpatient)

  • Patients on Labor and Delivery may have TWO approved visitors for the duration of labor and delivery, one of which may be a doula.
  • No visiting hour restrictions.
  • Antepartum/postpartum patients may have ONE approved visitor/support person who may leave and re-enter the designated area once per day.

Behavior Health (Inpatient

  • ONE visitor may visit Behavior Health patients in a common area on the unit to ensure consistent social distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use.
  • Visiting Hours: 1 to 2 hours per day (exact times determined by each unit.)
  • Visitor and patient must always maintain 6-feet social distance (no physical contact.)

Requesting Religious Services

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

Patients with Disabilities

COVID-19 positive, PUI Patients, Negative COVID-19, and Non-PUI Patients

 

Disabilities with Support Person

  • Patients with disabilities may designate ONE support person to accompany, visit, and stay with them throughout all care settings (inpatient and ambulatory) during visiting hours.
    • This support person may stay outside of visiting hours to accommodate the patient's disability as determined to be necessary and approved by clinical leadership.
    • A support person may be a family member, personal care assistant, similar disability service provider, or another individual knowledgeable about the management or care of the patient who is authorized to assist the patient in making decisions.
    • 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.

Disabilities without Support Person

  • If a patient with a disability does not have a support person present during the patient's visit or stay, the patient may designate a support person with whom to communicate.

Click here to view MedStar Health COVID-19 information page.

Revised Oct. 2, 2020