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 a Nuvance Health hospital or facility.

Effective: November 23, 2022

 

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Recent Changes to Highlight:

  1. One support person/care partner (18 years or older) can accompany patients receiving inpatient care overnight. Restrictions may apply only where there are space constraints. Support person may change nightly.
  2. Minimum age for visitation is 12 years old. All minors must always be accompanied by an adult. Visitors must remain masked at all times, regardless of age.
  3. Emergency Department: One support person is always welcomed for patients 21 years or older and 2 parents/guardians welcomed for patients under 21 years old. An additional support person may be permitted for adult patients as Emergency Department patient volume allows. Maximum number of support persons in the Emergency Department is two.
 

Included here:

  • General Inpatient Support Person Guidance
  • General Emergency Department Support Person Guidance
  • Visitation Guidelines for Special Patient Populations, Patients Under 21, Neonatal Patients, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances
  • Guidelines by Hospital
  • Guidance for Personal Belongings
  • Outpatient and Medical Practice Visitation 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 up to 4 non-changing 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.
  • Hours are 8 am to 8 pm. The care partners/support persons may be different every 24 hours, but visits should be restricted only to those essential to providing care. 
  • One adult may accompany the patient overnight. Restrictions for space may apply.

 

General Emergency Department Visitation Guidance

  • Adult Patients: All patients 21 years or older will be allowed one (non-changing) screened care partner/support person. If patient volume is low, ED leadership may permit up to two visitors/support person.
  • Patients under age 21: The designated two parents and/or guardians for patients under age 21 may be present at all times. No other visitors are permitted beyond two parents and/or guardians.
  • Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, only one support person will be allowed to use the waiting room. (Special populations and extenuating circumstances excluded.) Please note: Wait room use for support persons 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 other support person. 

 

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


Patients under age 21 outpatient and emergency care: A maximum of 2 (designated and non-changing) parents or support persons are permitted to accompany the patient at bedside throughout the duration of the Emergency Department or outpatient stay as long as social-distancing and safe-occupancy standards permit.

 

Inpatient 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 4 people daily with no more than 2 at the bedside at a time or as otherwise directed by the clinical team. While the designated 2 parents/guardians may be present at any time, an additional 2 non-  changing visitors may join during NICU visitation hours daily. These additional visitors should be restricted only to those essential to providing care. 

 

Visitation to the NICU may be adjusted based on prevalence of infectious diseases in the community and individual unit needs.

 

Hospitalized patients under age 21: The designated 2 parents and/or guardians may be present at all times. An additional 2 distinct visitors may join during the unit’s visitation hours daily. The daily total may not exceed 4 support persons.

 

Maternity patients: Up to a maximum of 2, non-changing support persons, excluding a vaccinated, trained doula, can accompany obstetric patients during antepartum, labor, delivery, and postpartum care. 

 

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.

 

In addition to the 2 designated support persons, an additional maximum of 2 support persons may join the maternity patient daily post-partum. This means a maternity patient can have their primary 2 support persons and an additional 2 distinct visitors during hospital visitation hours daily. The daily total may not exceed 4 support persons.

 

During triage for maternity patients, the primary support person will be permitted to stay with the patient or in a proximate wait room if experiencing high patient volume in a semi-private triage space. The second support person may join once the patient is admitted and in their assigned room.

 

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 4 support persons may be designated to remain with patients at bedside. Those may rotate once with another 4 support persons for a total not to exceed 8 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. an additional maximum of 2 support persons may join the patient during hospital visitation hours. The total may not exceed 4 support persons daily.
  • Pediatric leadership may help determine extenuating circumstances for visitors under age 12. 


Documentation Required for Visitation


Visitors/care partners at Nuvance Health hospitals and Emergency Departments, infusion centers, Same Day Surgery and all Nuvance Health facilities are strongly encouraged to be fully vaccinated including any eligible boosters. 

Proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test result will not be requested or required.



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: 5:45am – 8pm; Saturday and Sunday: 8am – 8pm
  • Emergency Department Entrance

Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 8am - 8pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance



Guidance for Personal Belongings

  • Family/caregivers may drop off essential personal items for patients such as clothing, contact lenses/glasses, hearing aids, mobile devices, laptops, and chargers. 

     

Outpatient and Medical Practice Visitation Guidance

  • Medical Practices: Up to 2  (non-changing) support person(s) are permitted. Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, only 1 support person will be allowed to use the waiting room (special populations and extenuating circumstances excluded).
  • For care settings with multiple patients in a room, visitation may be curtailed or modified to ensure social-distancing guidelines for the safety of all patients, staff and visitors.

        

Inpatient Behavioral Health Visitation Guidance

  • Visitation is by appointment only from 10 am to 8 pm for Danbury and Norwalk hospitals. Putnam and Sharon hospitals have hours of noon to 6 pm. 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 each day.

  • Children under age 14 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 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. 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 use 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 is absolutely necessary such as you are their caregiver, primary support person and actively involved in their medical care.

  • Visitors age 14 and older are allowed to visit if they meet specific requirements for approved visitation and are accompanied by an adult. Exceptions for visitors age 13 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.


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. Contact tracing information will be recorded only where required by state and federal guidelines.
  • 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 a 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 

  • Visitors must remain in the patient’s room at all times (except to use the restroom or the cafeteria) 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-19-Positive or Suspect Patients

Up to 2 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-19: see below for those groups.

Additional considerations are described below.

 

For all suspect or COVID-19 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-19 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-19

    • 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
    • Support persons of COVID-19 positive or suspected patients are not permitted to utilize the shared wait rooms.


Special patient populations or those with extenuating circumstances who are also suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19:

  • Patients in critical condition when death may be imminent: Up to 4 support persons may be designated to remain with patients at bedside. Those 4 may rotate once with another 4 support persons for a total not to exceed 8 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.

 

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.
  • Unsolicited vendors are restricted at this time. Any scheduled or planned maintenance or services may continue as normal.

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 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.