Temporary Visitor Restrictions and Guidance During COVID-19

Revised May 21, 2020
MedStar Health has in place temporary restrictions and guidance for patient visitors to all care locations. As the COVID-19 status continues to rapidly evolve, visitor restrictions are subject to change.

Patient Visitor Restrictions:

  • No Visitors Permitted at Hospitals Unless Exception Approved
  • All Approved Visitors Must Check In at Front Desk
  • One Visitor Per Patient Permitted at Ambulatory Locations
  • All Visitors Must Wear a Face Mask throughout the Duration of their Visit
Please use the following restrictions and guidance until further notice to help safeguard our patients, associates, physicians, and communities:

Hospital (Inpatient) Locations:

  • No visitors are permitted at any hospital location. Exceptions to these restrictions may be approved by hospital Vice President of Medical Affairs (VPMA) and/or Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) in specific circumstances, including two visitors per patient at end-of-life; two parents/caregivers of pediatric patients; one personal visitor or one professional support person in Labor & Delivery (a professional support person is allowed in post-partum units); one visitor per patient undergoing urgent/emergency surgery; one visitor to accompany patient for hospital discharge; one visitor if indicated by patient’s provider to support patient rehabilitation needs.
      • Any visitor who lives in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person is not permitted. Approved visitors will be asked whether they live in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person.
      • Patients with disabilities may designate one support person to accompany, visit and stay with them in the hospital. A support person is defined as someone who is legally authorized to make decisions for the individual with disabilities, a family member, a personal care assistant, or a disability service provider. In this situation, the support person will be permitted to visit even in the instance that the support person is a household contact of the patient. Other reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities may be approved by the VPMA and/or CNO, provided the accommodations comply with all infection prevention policies.
  • 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.).
  • Patients are expected to wear face masks, when clinically feasible and appropriate, throughout their hospitalization while outside of patient rooms (e.g., radiology, hallway, during transport to procedure, etc.).
  • Patients are not expected to wear a face mask while in their room (but may if they prefer).

Exceptions to the Temporary Patient Visitor Restrictions:

  • Any visitor who lives in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person is not permitted.
      • These individuals will not be approved as exceptions
      • Approved visitors will be asked whether they live in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person
    This policy is consistent with the 14-day self-quarantine mandate for all associates and physicians who live in the same household as a COVID-19 positive person.
  • A limit of one approved visitor for Labor & Delivery patients for the duration of the admission
      • Patients on labor and delivery will be allowed one visitor for the duration of the ante-, intra- and postpartum period
      • Patients may choose to utilize a professional doula in place of a visitor
      • Visitors are allowed a single entry. Visitors are not permitted to come in and out of the hospital for the duration of the patient’s hospital admission
      • MedStar Health will support visitors’ dietary and hygienic needs
    This policy balances the needs of our Labor & Delivery patients at a vulnerable and stressful time, with their safety and that of their infants, and the best guidance of national experts in Infectious Disease and Obstetric care.

Guidance for Approved Visitors From Exceptions:

  • All approved visitors must check in at the front desk
  • All approved visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, and will not be permitted if symptomatic
  • 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

Additional Visitor Restrictions to COVID-19 Confirmed or Patients Under Investigation (PUI):

  • Approved visitors must gown in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), consistent with personnel
  • Approved visitors must not be ill or show symptoms of illness

Ambulatory (Outpatient) Locations:

  • One visitor is permitted to accompany a patient for an ambulatory visit (i.e., urgent care) only to help facilitate care or treatment, such as a parent of a child, or an individual assisting the patient with a wheelchair, walking or other care/support (visitor must not be ill or show symptoms of illness)
  • All visitors must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival
  • No visitor is permitted in our cancer infusion locations due to increased risk to immunocompromised patients; visitors may wait in their car or designated areas per instruction from treatment locations
  • All visitors are required to bring and wear their own face mask for the duration of their visit at any/all clinical care locations. If they do not have one, a face mask will be provided

These restrictions and guidelines are similar to those implemented at hospitals and health systems across the country to protect the public, and our patients and caregivers, and prevent the spread of illness.


Updated May 21, 2020, 9:00 p.m.