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COVID-19 Visitation Restrictions
Protecting the safety of patients, communities and team members
To help contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as well as protect patients and team members, all Ballad Health hospitals and long-term care facilities are implementing new visitation guidelines.
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See below for details on academic professional students, volunteers, and operating-room and non-essential vendors.
Before you visit
Before visiting any Ballad Health facility, please plan to wear a mask or face covering.
Due to the increased risk of virus transmission, masks with vents and/or valves are not permitted.
If you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Hospital visitation restrictions
Ballad Health is currently not allowing visitors in:
- long-term care facilities
- behavioral health centers
- outpatient testing
...unless the patient needs special assistance.
No visitation of COVID-19 positive patients or patients who are under investigation – except during end-of-life situations – will be permitted.
Also, visitors under 18 are prohibited, unless they qualify for an approved extenuating circumstance.
Hospital inpatient unit visitation
Ballad Health is currently allowing 2 patient-support persons (or visitors) for the duration of each patient’s visit or hospital stay. One visitor may remain with the patient overnight, and this visitor must be in the facility prior to 8 p.m.
Each visitor will be screened for potential signs of illness and they will be required to wear a cloth face covering, provided by themselves.
The patient-support persons (or visitors) will only be allowed on site from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. One visitor may remain with the patient overnight, and this visitor must be in the facility prior to 8 p.m. Visitors who remain with the patient after 8 p.m. will stay in the patient room. If the visitor remaining with the patient after 8 p.m. leaves the facility at any point during the night, the visitor will not be permitted for re-entry until 8 a.m.
Visitation restriction exceptions
Two guests are permitted at all times in the following areas, and during extenuating circumstances or in the case of end-of-life care.
Ballad Health’s labor and delivery units will allow 1 patient support person and 1 visitor per room.
NICU and pediatrics
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Niswonger Children’s Hospital – as well as rooms with pediatric patients – will allow 2 visitors, who must be parents or guardians. They are permitted at all times.
Exceptions for extenuating circumstances must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Ballad Health Medical Associates
Ballad Health Medical Associates patients may be granted 2 visitors, and they must be screened on arrival at the clinic.
Hospice and end-of-life care
Family members are permitted to be with a dying patient.
In recognition of the fact that exact timing of anticipated death is often unpredictable and unknown, patients identified as comfort care, hospice and/or at end of life will be permitted the following to support them and their families at this time:
- Four visitors allowed – A maximum of 4 visitors may be present in the patient room at any given time. These visitors should primarily be limited to immediate family members/significant individuals to the patient.
- Plan your visit – Visits should be planned, and the schedule communicated to the screening team at the facility’s entrance. Considering an unknown length of the process, the family visits may occur daily if desired and as scheduled above.
- Wear a mask – Visitors must have their own personally provided cloth face covering / mask at arrival to the facility and wear it throughout their presence in the facility until exiting.
- Limit your visit – Visitors should proceed to the patient room and exit the facility directly.
Individual exception to the number of family members may be considered if approved by nursing leadership and based on the patient’s care provision requirements at the time of the visit request.
Visiting a patient under exception
Before you are allowed to visit any patient under these limited exceptions, you will need to answer several questions to evaluate any potential COVID-19 risk.
If necessary, you will:
- Have your temperature checked
- Be screened for potential signs of illness
- Wear a cloth face covering, provided by yourself
- or not be permitted to visit
Specific entrances vary per facility, and each one is clearly identified for the public.
Team member access
Ballad Health team members can still access restricted areas using their employee badges.
Long-term care facilities
Ballad Health has ceased all visitation for its long-term care facilities.
Visitors will not be permitted at the following locations:
- Francis Marion Manor Health & Rehabilitation – Marion, Va.
- Laughlin Healthcare Center – Greeneville, Tenn.
- Madison House – Kingsport, Tenn.
- Mountain View Regional Hospital – Norton, Va.
- Wexford House – Kingsport, Tenn.
Exceptions to long-term care visitation can also be made for end of life and other extraordinary situations.
Behavioral health facilities
The behavioral health centers with the same restrictions as our hospitals are:
- 5 East behavioral health unit – Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol, Tenn.
- Clearview Behavioral Health – Russell County Hospital, Lebanon, Va.
- Green Oak Behavioral Health – Dickenson Community Hospital, Clintwood, Va.
- Ridgeview Pavilion – Bristol, Tenn.
- New Leaf Senior Care inpatient geropsych – Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Elizabethton, Tenn.
- Woodridge Hospital – Johnson City, Tenn.*
*The child and adolescent unit at Woodridge also has a process in place for parents and guardians to visit – affected families have been contacted to discuss these changes.
Visitors are not allowed in Ballad Health outpatient clinics, unless a patient is in need of assistance during their visit.
Outpatients at Ballad Health facilities will be subject to a health screening before entering to ensure they’re in good health.
Communicating with a loved one
To stay connected to a friend of family member currently in the hospital, long-term care or a behavioral health facility, you can find suggestions for virtual communication here.
Why these restrictions?
Please note: Ballad Health’s updated visitation policy was developed following guidance by state departments of health.
Vendors and volunteers
All non-essential vendors are restricted from all Ballad Health facilities. This restriction includes Ballad Health Medical Associates offices.
Operating room vendors
Vendors visiting the operating room are exempt from these restrictions.
All volunteers will be restricted from all Ballad Health facilities, effective Saturday, March 21.
How long will these restrictions be in place?
These limitations will remain in place until further notice. Ballad Health will issue communication when the restrictions are lifted or modified.
Think you might have COVID-19?
Schedule your test online if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19.
Or call 833-822-5523 to be screened. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Find more COVID-19 updates and information here.