Visitor Policy

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for our patients, staff, and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nuvance Health has implemented the following visitation policy. These guidelines will help you prepare for your next visit to a Nuvance Health hospital or facility.

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Recent Changes to Highlight

Effective October 5, visitors to Nuvance Health hospitals and facilities must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours in order to enter. This includes inpatient, Emergency Department, Nuvance Health Medical Practices, and ambulatory services.

Special Populations and visitors with extenuating circumstances may be asked to provide documentation but providing documentation is not required in order to visit for these groups.

Nuvance Health is permitting one support person per day for patients not suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19. This includes inpatient, Emergency Department, Nuvance Health Medical Practices, and ambulatory services. Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID will be permitted visitation only for extenuating circumstances and special patient populations as described in this policy.

 

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 hospital stay so long as social-distancing and safe-occupancy standards permit. Pediatric patients may have sibling(s) visit during hospital visitation hours, if deemed therapeutic to the patient or family by the clinical care team. The children must stay within the patient’s room throughout the entire visit.

Neonatal intensive care units —Visitation in the NICUs across Nuvance Health is limited to two (2) people at the bedside at a time. One of the two visitors must be a banded parent/guardian.  Visitation by banded parents/guardians can be at any time to support the care of their infant. Visitation of non-banded support person will be limited to hospital visitation hours. Support person(s) accompanying the parents/guardians may change at the discretion of the parents/guardians as they deem essential to the care of the infant and family.

 

Maternity patients Two support persons, including a trained doula, can accompany obstetric patients during antepartum, labor, delivery, and postpartum care. The designated and non-rotating support persons and/or a trained doula must remain the same for the course of the admission. Overnight visitation may be limited for operational safety and capacity concerns.  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 circumstancesThe 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 four (rotating) support persons may be designated to remain with patients at bedside, space permitting.
  • 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. One additional visitor may also be with the patient during hospital-designated visiting hours.


Included here:

  • 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
  • Overall Visitation Policy

Documentation Required for Visitation


Effective October 5, visitors to Nuvance Health hospitals and facilities must provide proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours in order to enter. This applies to all facilities including inpatient, Medical Practices and Emergency Departments.

Special Populations and visitors with extenuating circumstances may be asked to provide documentation but providing documentation is not required in order to visit for these groups.

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 sold by pharmacies and retail stores—unless the test involves observation and interpretation by a health professional and provides its accompanying negative certification.

Special populations and extenuating circumstances visitors may be asked to show documentation but will not be denied entry if documentation cannot be provided.

Should you 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 and the new negative test results must be shown upon reentry, for visitors who are not fully vaccinated.

Every effort will be made to provide 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 11 am - 7 pm 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
  • Danbury Hospital Medical Arts Center (DHMAC) 

New Milford Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 11 am - 7 pm daily

Open Entrances:

  • Emergency Department Entrance
  • Main Front Entrance

Norwalk Hospital

Inpatient care:

Visitation Hours 1 - 7 pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Pavilion Entrance 

Northern Dutchess Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 12 - 6 pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance

Putnam Hospital

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 12 - 6 pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance
  

Sharon Hospital

Inpatient Care:

Visitation Hours 12 - 6 pm daily

Open Entrances:

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

Vassar Brothers Medical Center

Inpatient Care
:

Visitation Hours 11 am - 6:30 pm daily

Open Entrance:

  • Main Front Entrance

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. All items need to be in a clear, zip-top bag no larger than a gallon size.

 

Outpatient and Medical Practice Visitation Guidance

  • Visitation is permitted for a single (non-changing) support person unless care is for a special population or extenuating circumstances are present. Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, the support person will not be allowed to use the wait-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).
  • 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: cancer care (infusion centers only), dental services, lab, rehabilitation, imaging, and wound care.


Emergency Department Visitation Guidance

  • Limited visitation in the Emergency Department is permitted for patients without suspected or confirmed COVID disease, and they will be allowed one (non-changing) screened support person.

     

  • Given social distancing and safe-occupancy limitation requirements, the support person will not be allowed to use the wait-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.

     

  • Patients with suspected or confirmed COVID disease will not be permitted a support person unless the patient is under age 21, a maternity patient or if extenuating circumstances apply.

 

Inpatient Behavioral Health Visitation Guidance

  • Inpatient behavioral health visits are available by appointment only and are permitted for patients without suspected or confirmed COVID disease.
  • Patients will be allowed one (non-changing) screened support persons (except for shared rooms and suspect or confirmed COVID). This change applies to non-special populations or those without extenuating circumstances. The maximum duration of visits is 30 minutes. Please note inpatient behavioral health visitation may be paused for safety or operational concerns and is dependent on the treatment plan.



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.



 

 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, or immediate family and actively involved in their medical care.

  • For special population and extenuating circumstances patients, the approved visitor(s) may exit the hospital and return the same day.
  • 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 sibling(s) visit during hospital visitation hours if deemed therapeutic to the patient or family 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.
  • Maternity in-person tours are limited to a maximum of two (2) at a time (mom and support person/partner) and are conducted by appointment only.

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.
  • Vaccination for all is strongly recommended 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 asked 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 72 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 respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, AND
    • At least 14 days have passed since COVID-19 symptoms first appeared
  • 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 14 days have passed since their first positive test.


Guidance for Approved Visitors

  • If individuals are not visiting, they must wait safely outside the hospital or in their car. 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), wait rooms may be utilized as determined by Nuvance Health staff.

  • 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 visitors 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 support person to actively assist in the discharge education process to promote patient safety at their clinical discretion. The clinician inviting the support person will notify the front desk ahead of arrival to ensure the support person will be welcomed in.

Guidance for COVID-Positive or Suspect Patients

For all suspect or COVID-positive patients under age 21, maternity patients, and those with extenuating circumstances, they will be allowed visitation as guided under the section (Visitation Guidelines for Patients Under Age 21, Neonatal Patients, Maternity Patients, and Extenuating Circumstances) noted above.

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 will have a time limit maximum of 15 minutes, and visits will only be permitted for these patients for extenuating circumstances.

The following visitors are not allowed at this time:

  • Per state executive orders, anyone traveling into Connecticut or New York must adhere to state specific and/or CDC travel advisories. The list of states and territories is updated regularly. Please go to these Travel Advisory websites for the latest information: Connecticut Travel Advisory (https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus/travel); New York Travel Advisory (https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory).
  • Approved visitors are not permitted to use the cafeteria/Bistro to purchase food and beverages at this time. Visitors 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 visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. That’s why this visitation policy will be reevaluated regularly and removed as soon as conditions allow.

Visit coronavirus for the latest information.

This visitation policy is subject to change.