PURPOSE
To establish guidelines for visitation of hospital inpatients and outpatients during public health emergencies to ensure a safe and restful environment for patients, visitors, and employees.

POLICY
Hospital visitor guidelines for patient visitation with patients with or without COVID-19 infection.

Inpatient Areas – Non-COVID-19 patients

  1. Allow up to 2 self-screened visitors at a time, per day between 11:30am and 8:00 pm
  2. Visitors are to be at least 18 years old. Visitors younger than 18 years are to be accompanied by an adult.
  3. Visitors are to wear a face mask regardless of vaccination status.
  4. Visitors are to self-screen before entering the hospital or site of care. Self-screen criteria are as follows:
    1. no active COVID infection
    2. no exposure to COVID nor a positive test in the past 10 days, and must not have:
    3. chills or fever (=100.4) within the last 24-48 hours.
    4. Cough or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    5. Fatigue, muscle, body aches or headache
    6. New loss of taste or smell or sore throat.
    7. Congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  5. Go directly to the nursing station and check in with the unit staff.
  6. Clergy and designated care givers are allowed to visit and are not included in the visit count, but must follow all of the visitor requirements outlined above.
  7. Visitors are allowed to enter and re-enter the building the same day between 11:30am and 8pm, regular visiting hours.
  8. Visitors agree to abide by Hospital rules with regard to conduct, and to be considerate of all patients and Hospital staff.

VISITATION FOR COVID-19 Patients

Non-critical COVID-19 Patients

  1. Those visiting COVID-19 patients must follow the same procedures as non-COVID-19 patients.
  2. The patient’s nurse will assist the visitor with donning and doffing the personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent any unprotected contact and reduce risk of transmission.
  3. Visitors are asked to limit entering and exiting the patients room to reduce need for donning and doffing PPE

Critically Ill COVID Patients
For critically ill COVID patients who are not in danger of death

  1. 2 self-screened visitors per day for 1 hour between 11:30am and 8pm may be permitted.
  2. The care team and the Chaplain will coordinate to assist the visitor.
  3. The patient’s nurse will assist the visitor with donning and doffing the PPE and supervise the in-room visit to prevent any unprotected contact and reduce risk of transmission.

End of Life COVID Patients

  1. Visitation will be established by the patient’s care team and the Chaplain.
  2. Limit of 2 family members at a time are permitted in the room for 15 minutes.
  3. The patient’s nurse will assist the visitor with donning and doffing the PPE and supervise the in-room visit to prevent any unprotected contact and reduce risk of transmission.
  4. Following the patient’s death, any additional viewing of the body should be arranged with the funeral home or cremation service.
  5. Late viewing requests are not being offered after the body is moved to the hospital morgue.

Outpatient Services

  1. Allow up to 2 identified visitors who self-screen to accompany the patient:
    1. Visitors are permitted to wait in the practice waiting area
    2. Number of visitors in waiting room limited to physical space
  2. Visitors must:
    1. Be at least 18 years old.  Visitors younger than 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
    2. Self-screen
      1. no active COVID infection
    3. no exposure to COVID in the last 10 days, and
    4. Wear a mask at all times in all areas

Family Birthing Center (FBC)/Obstetric Patients

  1. All patients admitted to the FBC are allowed two visitors during labor and delivery (24 hours/day). While in labor, there is no switching of visitors. Visitors will be asked to remain in the waiting room until after the initial assessment is complete. During the postpartum period (after two-hour delivery/recovery time), 2 visitors are allowed during normal visiting hours and only 1 designated visitor will be able to spend the night. There is no switching of the designated visitor spending the night.
  2. Visitors for the infants in the ICN must have a baby identification band.  Only one person may visit at a time. 
  3. Patients coming to the FBC for OBED/triage or outpatient procedures, such as NST, will be allowed to have one visitor at the RNs discretion.
  4. Doulas will be permitted in L&D to support patients through labor, delivery and postpartum.  Doulas are required to follow the remaining guidelines set forth in this document. 
  5. Visitors must have a visitors screening in the Family Birthing Center of postpartum units.  Any visitor that answers ‘yes’ to any questions will not be allowed to visit.
    1. Fever ≥ 99.5 F and/or chills
    2. Cough
    3. Shortness of breath (new/different from dyspnea related to pregnancy)
    4. Sore throat
    5. Muscle/body aches
    6. Loss of sense of smell or taste
    7. GI symptoms: nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
    8. Anorexia (loss of appetite)
    9. Have you tested (+) for COVID?  If yes, when?
  6. The designated support person will have their temperatures checked twice daily, at 8am and 8pm.  Visitors will be asked to leave if their temperature is ≥ 99.5.  They may return 24 hours later to have their temperature rechecked.
  7. All visitors must wear a hospital mask for the duration of the stay.
  8. Doulas do not count as the second support person during labor, delivery and recovery.
  9. Postpartum Units: 2 visitors at a time during hospital visiting hours, 11:30am to 8:00 pm. Only the children of the patient/sibling of the newborn are allowed to visit and must always be accompanied by a visiting adult. Support person, doula, and children count as visitors. Only 1 adult visitor may spend the night in postpartum.
  10. Visitors for FBC/OB Patients that are COVID (+) or PUI
    1. One visitor will be allowed.
    2. Visitor must wear a mask for the duration of the stay.
    3. Visitors are asked to remain in the patient’s room.
    4. Children are not allowed to visit.
    5. Doulas will not be allowed with COVID+ or PUI patients.

Exceptions

Swedish Hospital patient visiting hours during times of public health emergencies are to ensure patient safety, however, the hospital does reserve the right to adjust visitation in certain cases and areas, including but not limited to patient condition, unit circumstances, procedures, departments, or nurse/physician clinical judgment.  Clinical staff and or hospital leadership may use their judgment in determining visitation exceptions and limits if needed. If limitations to visitation need to occur, staff must continue to follow Illinois law which allows one visitor and one member of the clergy to visit.

REFERENCES
City of Chicago, Chicago Department of Public Health – Communicable Disease Program. (December 16, 2020) Public Health Order Amendment and Hospital Visitation Recommendations by COVID-19 Risk Level.

Illinois Patient Visitation Law (SB1405/PA 102-0989), Amended 2022.