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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.

Looking for info about students, vendors or volunteers?

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.

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

Visitation restriction exceptions

The health system will permit a single visitor for the following areas:

  • Inpatient acute care
  • Labor and delivery
  • Emergency room
  • Surgery

Each visitor will be screened for potential signs of illness and they will be required to wear a cloth face covering, provided by themselves.

Birthing centers

Exceptions to this policy include Ballad Health’s labor and delivery units, which will allow 1 visitor per room.

NICU and pediatrics

The neonatal intensive care unit at Niswonger Children’s Hospital, as well as rooms with pediatric patients, will allow 2 visitors, who must be parents or guardians.

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 1 visitor, 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 four visitors may be present in the patient room at any one 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:

  • need to have your temperature checked
  • wear a cloth face covering, provided by yourself
  • or not be permitted to visit

Hospital entrances

Visitor access

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:

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:

*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.

Outpatient care

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.

Allowing additional visitors in healthcare facilities, even with screening processes in place, increases the risk of infection spread, potentially endangering patients, team members and communities.


Non-clinical volunteers and students

Activity suspended – After continued assessment of the dynamic and evolving situation of preparation for COVID-19 health care planning, Ballad Health is suspending all activity by academic professional students in the clinical environment, including gero-pscyh units within acute care facilities where students will not be permitted.

Vendors

Non-essential vendors

All non-essential vendors, including pharmaceutical 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.

Volunteers

All volunteers, including student 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?

Please call 833-822-5523 to be screened if you are concerned you may be ill with COVID-19. This Ballad Health Nurse Connect line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Or use this Coronavirus Screening Tool to help determine if you or a loved one need to seek medical care.


Learn more

Find more COVID-19 updates and information here.