Visitation Policy

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for our patients, staff and care partners/support persons during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuvance Health has implemented the following visitation policy. These guidelines will help you prepare for your next encounter at Nuvance Health hospital or facility.

Effective: 7/26/22

 

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Recent Changes to Highlight 

  • Inpatient visitation hours are expanded to 8am to 8pm


Included here:

  • General Inpatient Care/ Partner and Support Person Guidance
  • Visitation Guidelines for Special Patient Populations, Patients Under 21, Neonatal Patients, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances
  • Documentation Required for Visitation
  • Guidelines by Hospital
  • Guidance for Personal Belongings
  • Outpatient and Medical Practice Visitation Guidance
  • Emergency Department Guidance
  • Inpatient Behavioral Health Visitation Guidance
  • Eucharistic Ministers and Community Clergy Guidance
  • Food and Drink Guidance
  • Overall Visitation Policy

  

General Inpatient Support Person Guidance

Inpatient visitation is permitted for two non-changing care partner/support persons for patients up to maximum of 12 hours per day. Hours are 8am-8pm. The care partner/ support persons may be different every 24 hours, but visits should be restricted only to those essential to providing care.



Visitation Guidelines for Patients Under Age 21, Neonatal Patients, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances


Patients under age 21: A maximum of two (designated and non-changing) parents or support persons are permitted to accompany the patient at bedside throughout the duration of the ED, outpatient or hospital stay so long as social-distancing and safe-occupancy standards permit. Pediatric patients may have sibling(s) visit during hospital visitation hours only if deemed therapeutic to the patient by the clinical care team. The children must stay within the patient’s room throughout the entire visit. Playrooms or other shared spaces remain closed.

Neonatal intensive care units: Visitation in the NICUs across Nuvance Health is limited to two (2) people (parents or guardians) at the bedside at a time.

 

Patients under age 21 (including NICU): The designated two parents and/or guardians may be present at all times without having to show proof of full vaccination or recent negative test result. No other visitors are permitted beyond two parents and/or guardians.

 

Maternity patients: The primary care partner/support person may be present without having to show proof of full vaccination or recent negative test result.

Up to a maximum of two, non-changing, support persons, excluding a vaccinated, trained doula, can accompany obstetric patients during antepartum, labor, delivery, and postpartum care.

 

The second support person must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours upon arrival to the hospital. A COVID-19 test must be repeated every 72 hours for the second support person if they are unvaccinated.

 

The second support person may be present at all hours during delivery. Post-partum, the second support person (non-changing) can only be present during hospital visitation hours.

If at any time support person(s) show symptoms of COVID-19, they will be screened again by the clinical team and may be asked to leave the hospital. At that time, alternative support person(s) can be selected and will have to follow the same screening process.

 

Extenuating circumstances: The patient’s care team will determine if extenuating circumstances apply and discuss these with the patient and their support person(s). Extenuating circumstances may include:

  • Patients in critical condition when death may be imminent: up to two support persons may be designated to remain with patients at bedside. Those two may rotate once with another two support persons for a total not to exceed four support persons per day.
  • Patients who have a physical, intellectual/developmental or cognitive disability; communication barriers or behavioral concerns prior to hospitalization; and/or who need assistance due to the specifics of their disability, may have one designated support person with them throughout their hospitalization to support their disability related needs. A second support person may visit only during hospital hours and that person must show proof of full vaccination or a negative test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.


Documentation Required for Visitation


Visitors/care partners at Nuvance Health Hospitals and Emergency Departments, infusion centers, Same Day Surgery and all Nuvance Health facilities must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours in order to enter.

  

Proof of vaccination or negative test result for visitors of Maternity, Pediatric and NICU patients


Patients under age 21 (including NICU):
The designated two parents and/or guardians may be present at all times without having to show proof of full vaccination or recent negative test result.

Maternity: The primary support person may be present without having to show proof of full vaccination or recent negative test result.

 

Up to a maximum of two, non-changing, support persons, excluding a vaccinated, trained doula, can accompany obstetric patients during antepartum, labor, delivery, and postpartum care.

 

The second support person must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours upon arrival to the hospital. A COVID-19 test must be repeated every 72 hours for the second support person if they are unvaccinated.

 

The second support person may be present at all hours during delivery. Post-partum, the second support person (non-changing) can only be present during hospital visitation hours.

 

Acceptable types of vaccination documentation:

  • A physical copy of your vaccine card
  • A photo of your vaccine card
  • A digital copy of your vaccine record
  • Documentation from your healthcare provider showing dates of vaccination, provider name and WHO approved vaccine administered
  • “Fully vaccinated” means you had your second Pfizer or Moderna dose or your single-dose J&J vaccine at least two weeks ago


Acceptable types of COVID-19 tests:

  • Both antigen and molecular tests are acceptable forms of COVID-19 testing.

  • Any test done through a healthcare provider or licensed COVID testing center will meet these requirements.


Please note that Nuvance Health cannot accept the results of self-administered tests such as at-home COVID-19 tests—unless the test provides negative results with the name, date of birth, the time and date the sample was taken shown via an app, printout, or results portal. A screenshot or image with the above information is acceptable.

Should unvaccinated support persons need to visit a patient experiencing a long hospitalization or repeated outpatient visits in a short period of time, testing must be repeated every 72 hours.

Nuvance Health provides referrals to community testing locations. Rapid tests will not be offered to visitors at Nuvance Health facilities due to limited availability of supplies that must be prioritized for patients receiving care.

Information on where to receive a free and safe vaccine will also be provided in handouts and on our website. Vaccination is the best way to ensure safety in healthcare environments that serve the most vulnerable members of the community.  



Visitation Hours and Entrances by Hospital


Danbury Hospital

Inpatient Care:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrances:

  • Main Entrance at the Peter & Carmen Lucia Buck Pavilion (park in the Rizzo Garage, or valet your car)
  • Stroock Building (park in the Gold or Red garages, or valet your car)
  • Ambulatory Surgery Unit Entrance
  • Kelly Medical Arts Center (formerly the Danbury Hospital Medical Arts Center) (DHMAC)

New Milford Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrances:

  • Emergency Department Entrance
  • Main Front Entrance

Norwalk Hospital

Inpatient care:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Pavilion Entrance 

Northern Dutchess Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance

Putnam Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance

  

Sharon Hospital

Inpatient Care:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrances:

  • Main Entrance Monday through Friday until 4:30pm
  • Emergency Department Entrance after 4:30pm Monday through Friday and 2 - 6pm Saturday and Sunday

Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance


Same Day Procedures/Same Day Surgery:

  • Support persons are currently allowed in the following areas: Cardiac Catheterization and Endoscopy Suites.


Guidance for Personal Belongings

  • Family/caregiver may drop off essential personal items for patients such as clothing, contact lenses/glasses, hearing aids, mobile devices, laptops, and chargers. Please note there may be a delay from the time the item is dropped off until it's brought to the patient during peak evening hours in order to prioritize direct patient care.

     

Outpatient and Medical Practice Visitation Guidance

  • Medical Practices: Up to two (non-changing) support person(s) are permitted. Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, the support person(s) will not be allowed to use the waiting room and will be instructed to wait safely outside the facility and rejoin the patient once the patient is escorted into a private treatment room (special populations and extenuating circumstances excluded).
  • Waiting rooms for OR/same day surgery or same day procedures will adhere to strict capacity limits dependent upon each space. When maximum capacity for each space is reached, no additional support persons will be allowed to use the space.
  • For care settings with multiple patients in a room, visitation will be curtailed or modified to ensure social distancing guidelines for the safety of all patients, staff and visitors. The following areas, due to space limitations, cannot accommodate a support person at this time except for extenuating circumstances; dental services, lab, rehabilitation, imaging, and wound care.


Emergency Department Visitation Guidance

  • Adult Patients: Limited visitation in the Emergency Department is permitted for all patients, and they will be allowed one (non-changing) screened care partner/support person.
  • Patients under the age of 21: The designated two parents and/or guardians for patients under the age of 21 may be present at all times without having to show proof of full vaccination or recent negative test result. No other visitors are permitted beyond two parents and/or guardians.
  • Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, the support person will not be allowed to use the waiting room and will be instructed to wait safely outside the hospital and rejoin the patient once the patient is escorted into a private treatment room (special populations and extenuating circumstances excluded). Please note ED visitation may be paused for safety or operational concerns.
  • In a circumstance where the patient arrived with someone other than their support person, a neighbor for example, and their care partner subsequently arrives, that care partner, critical to and knowledgeable about the patient’s care, will be allowed to replace the neighbor.

    

Inpatient Behavioral Health Visitation Guidance

  • Visitation is by appointment only from the hours of 10am to 8pm for Danbury and Norwalk Hospitals. Putnam and Sharon Hospitals have hours of 12pm to 6pm. Visits are limited to 30 minutes. The number of visitors is limited to 1 per day at the designated time. The single visitor may change day over day.

  • Children under the age of eighteen (18) are not permitted on the unit to visit, except by special order of the attending physician or their designee after discussion with the treatment team and must be accompanied by an adult.



Eucharistic Ministers and Community Clergy Visitation Guidance

Eucharistic Ministers and the Community Clergy are permitted to visit provided:

  • They have hospital badges
  • They are fully vaccinated: masking and eye protection are always mandatory

  • They attend a refresher orientation

  • Visits to patients under isolation precautions are limited to 60 minutes (no more than once per day)

  • The Community Clergy register at the front desks of each hospital and provide the name(s) of those they will visit in order to conduct contact tracing if necessary.

  • Community Clergy do not count as a designated support person such that the patient can have as many support persons as their condition permits in addition to Eucharistic Minister/Community Clergy.

 

Food and Drink Guidance

We welcome care partners/support persons who have a loved one receiving care at our hospitals to our cafeterias/Bistros.

Care partners/ support persons may bring food for hospitalized patients. Food brought in must adhere to dietary/safety restrictions. When not actively eating, masking is essential.

 

 Overall Visitation Policy


We recommend only visiting a patient if you feel it’s absolutely necessary such as you’re their caregiver, primary support person and actively involved in their medical care.

  • Visitors age 18 and older are allowed to visit if they meet specific requirements for approved visitation. Rare exceptions for visitors age 17 and younger may apply for patients with extenuating circumstances. Pediatric patients may have a sibling visit during hospital visitation hours if deemed therapeutic to the patient by the clinical care team. The children must stay within the patient’s room throughout the entire visit. 
  • In-person health and wellness-related classes may resume following screening, social distancing and masking requirements. There may be certain high risk, predominately immunocompromised patient populations where classes may need to remain limited in capacity or outdoors/virtual as informed by pertinent departments. 


All visitors must meet the following requirements before they are approved to visit:

  • Visitors must arrive wearing a medical grade face mask. Please don’t wear a mask with a valve, or a bandana, scarf, or any other type of face covering. The mask must be properly worn at all times. Visitors unable to remain masked after receiving a single warning will be escorted out by security. 
  • Visitors need to show a government-issued photo ID (examples: driver’s license, passport) to check-in. Contract tracing information will be recorded where required by state and federal guidelines.
  • All eligible for booster vaccinations for COVID-19, should pursue this important layer of safety to keep patients, visitors and staff safe. 
  • Visitors will be screened for risk factors of COVID-19. Temperatures will be checked.
  • Visitors with symptoms will be required to go home for the safety of our patients and staff.
  • Visitors who pass the initial screening but develop symptoms of COVID-19 at any time during their visit will also be asked to go home. At that time, an alternative visitor may be allowed and will have to follow the same screening process.
  • If visitor was confirmed as having symptomatic COVID-19 but meets the following conditions, they may be permitted to visit if:
    • At least 24 hours have passed since recovery: no fever (greater than or equal to 99.5 F) without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
    • Improvement in signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion or rhinorrhea, vomiting or diarrhea, and skin rashes), AND
    • At least 10 days have passed since a positive test or medically confirmed start of symptoms.
  • If visitor was asymptomatic (not experiencing symptoms) at the time of their first positive COVID-19 test and are still asymptomatic, they may be permitted to visit if at least 5 days have passed since their first positive test.


Guidance for Approved Care Partners/Support Persons

  • If individuals are not visiting, they must wait safely outside the hospital or in their car. Generally, waiting rooms, except when directed by the care team, are closed for visitors. In instances of extreme weather and/or for the safety of support person(s), waiting rooms may be utilized as determined by Nuvance Health staff.
  • Waiting rooms for OR/same day surgery or same day procedures will adhere to strict capacity limits dependent upon each space. When maximum capacity is reached, no additional support persons will be allowed to use the space.
  • Visitors must remain in the patient’s room at all times (except to use the restroom) and follow all personal protective equipment (PPE) guidelines — such as wearing a medical grade face mask — as instructed by the care team. If care team instructs the support person to assist the patient in ambulating around the unit, this is an approved circumstance to leave the patient room. Social distancing must be followed with other patients and staff members at all times.

  • Please use the call light to connect with a member of the care team from the patient’s room. This helps to keep patients, staff and care partners safe.

  • Visitors must exit the room or may not visit during the period where any aerosol generating procedure or treatment is taking place (or shortly after) as instructed by the care team

  • If a discharge occurs outside of visitation hours, the clinical team may invite a care partner/support person to actively assist in the discharge education process to promote patient safety at their clinical discretion. The clinician inviting the care partner will notify the front desk ahead of arrival to ensure the care partner will be welcomed in.


Guidance Around the Use of Technology for Remote Visitation

  • The device must be turned off during direct patient care, including personal care and medical interventions, as well as quiet times.

  • Filming other patients without their consent is prohibited.

  • Use of devices to disclose any HIPPA protected information about other patients without their consent is prohibited.

  • Using devices to post information about other patients on social media or other venues without the patient’s consent is prohibited.


Guidance for COVID-Positive or Suspect Patients

Up to two support person(s) will be welcomed daily during hospital visitation hours.

  • All visitors will be informed of the risks of visiting patients with COVID-19 and educated on proper PPE use.

  • The support person(s) can be different every 24 hours, but visits should be restricted only to those essential to providing care.
    • Special patient populations or those with extenuating circumstances who are also suspected or confirmed to have COVID.

Additional considerations are described below.

 

For all suspect or COVID-positive patients:

  • Prior discussion with care team is required to weigh risk and benefits of providing in person support

  • Support person will be provided PPE which includes: gloves, gowns, medical grade mask and eye protection
  • Please consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely

  • COVID suspected or positive patients using CPAP, BiPAP or high flow oxygen: visitation is not permitted unless there are extenuating circumstances and risk reducing steps listed below must be followed:
    • Clear education will be provided that the patient is on a machine that aerosolizes COVID

    • Strict mask wearing is required with no removal for food and water while in the room. Mask can be removed only outside the room

    • Shorter stays are recommended, and masks must be discarded after leaving the room


Special patient populations or those with extenuating circumstances who are also suspected or confirmed to have COVID:

  • Patients in critical condition when death may be imminent: up to two support persons may be designated to remain with patients at bedside. Those two may rotate once with another two support persons for a total not to exceed four support persons per day.
  • Patients who have a physical, intellectual/developmental or cognitive disability; communication barriers or behavioral concerns prior to hospitalization; and/or who need assistance due to the specifics of their disability, may have one designated support person with them throughout their hospitalization to support their disability related needs. A second support person may visit only during hospital hours and that person must show proof of full vaccination or a negative test result taken within 72 hours of arrival.

 

The following visitors are not allowed at this time:

  • Community members (those not actively seeking care or supporting a loved one at the hospital) are not permitted to use cafeterias/Bistros to purchase food and beverages at this time. Care partners for special populations/extenuating circumstances patients can continue to eat in patient rooms as required. Masking must be prioritized and instances when both the support person and the patient are unmasked should be avoided and distanced.
  • Vendors are restricted at this time to only essential vendors which are confirmed by their receiving department.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this visitation policy may cause you and your family. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 to you, your loved ones, and the community. We know that care partners and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness and this policy is reevaluated regularly.

Visit Nuvance Health's COVID-19 Hub for the latest information.

This visitation policy is subject to change.