ALERT

Access info on COVID tests, vaccines, visitor policy, hospitalization data, and FAQs.

toggle mobile menu Menu
toggle search menu

Site Navigation

Supplemental

Menu

Visitor Policy, Procedures and Requirements

Visitor Policy (updated 4/20/2022)

General Guidelines

  • Visitation levels are set by the health system and apply to all facilities. However, there may be nuances for certain facilities/units based on regulatory requirements.  
  • Visitation will be balanced against the following components:
    • Decreasing the spread or transmission of communicable diseases amongst patients, visitors, staff and our communities. 
    • Ensuring safe operations for clinical care.
    • Providing compassionate but safe care to patients, visitors and staff. Individual units and/or visitation for specific infectious diseases may be further restricted.
  • Patients with disabilities which may include, but are not limited to, altered mental status, physical, intellectual or cognitive disability, communication barriers and/or behavioral concerns, will always be allowed a support person to provide essential support and assist with the specifics of their disability.
  • Service animals are permitted.
  • Any individual patients with any highly infectious disease, regardless of pandemic status.
  • NOTE: At all levels, rehab and long-term care visitation will be based on regulatory requirements.

Inpatient, Emergency Department and Long-Term Care/Subacute Rehab Unit

No visitors allowed for COVID-19-positive patients:
  • COVID-19-positive patients will not be allowed visitors except: 
  • Children will permit one parent/guardian.
  • One visitor for the first 24 hours of critical illness (only if patient and visitor can mask and no aerosol generating procedure is occurring)
  • End of life: Compassionate exceptions can allow visitors, as appropriate, based on the decision of the attending physician and charge nurse/assistant nurse manage in collaboration. Rotation of visitors in the room can be considered if unit operations can safely accommodate it without putting other patients and/or team members at risk. Visitors must follow PPE requirements and risk mitigation for aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs).
  • See other allowed leniencies below.
Two visitors will be allowed per patient in the following areas:
  • Inpatient visits, except if the patient is COVID-positive.
    • Recommended visitor hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. for all inpatient units.
  • Emergency Department, except if the patient is COVID-positive. Visitors may opt into our patient companion notification system to receive text updates.
  • Inpatients and emergency department patients may have one clergy member (in addition to their visitor) at any point throughout their treatment. Only one clergy member may visit in each 24-hour period.
    • Prior to the visit, we ask clergy members to coordinate with a St. Luke's chaplain by calling the facility and asking for the in-house chaplain or house supervisor.
  • Long-term and subacute rehabilitation units: St. Luke’s Elmore Long Term Care Unit and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Hospital Subacute Rehabilitation Unit may have more than one visitor per day and more than one visitor at a time as may be accommodated due to space and patient care activities. Maximum 2 visitors at one time are preferred.
Visitation in other areas as follows:
  • Children: Inpatient pediatric patients are allowed up to two parents, guardians or caregivers at the same time during inpatient stays and emergency department and clinic visits. COVID-positive pediatric patients are allowed one parent.
  • Inpatient obstetrics (e.g., labor and delivery and postpartum) – patient may have two visitors. In addition, a qualified doula may accompany the patient during active labor and for two hours after delivery. A doula's credentials should be presented prior to labor and delivery admission and can include two of three of the following:
    • Training or certification certificate
    • Proof of membership to one of the local professional doula's organizations
    • The doula-client contract
  • In procedural areas, including procedural areas without patient rooms (e.g., curtained perioperative units), visitors may be allowed at the discretion of local infection prevention team and operations. The visitor amount shall not exceed the general visitor policy amount.
  • End of life: Compassionate exceptions can allow visitors as appropriate based on the decision of the attending physician and charge nurse/assistant nurse manager in collaboration. Rotation of visitors in the room can be considered if unit operations can safely accommodate it without putting other patients and/or team members at risk. Visitors must follow PPE requirements and risk-mitigation strategies for aerosol-generating procedures.
  • Posthumous visits are permitted and should be consistent with the number of visitors allowed for each area (e.g., hospitalized adults are allowed one visitor). Compassionate thoughtful exception can allow for more visitors through the 24-hour period.
  • Deliveries are permitted. Personnel must make deliveries at the designated delivery drop-off location at each site and follow infection-prevention guidelines.

Outpatient Visits

  • Outpatient visits: In most circumstances, clinic patients may bring their children (minor or needing adult supervision), whether to their own appointment or a sibling’s appointment, if they have no alternative childcare options. Some appointments (e.g., some imaging procedures, adult cardiology procedures, chemotherapy infusion/most oncology visits, and mental health evaluations and testing) either do not allow children at a visit, or strongly discourage children attending, and may be subject to the appointment being rescheduled.
  • Outpatient pediatric patients are allowed up to two people (parents, guardians, caregivers or siblings) at the same time during clinic visits.

Not Permitted

  • Vendors, unless they have essential roles (assisting providers, delivering supplies, etc.).

Assumptions

  • Masking: All staff, visitors and patients are to follow masking guidelines outlined by St. Luke's and per public health recommendations and organizational policy when in any health care areas or where patients may be present. Employees and visitors in non-health care settings have the option to mask, if they so choose, but are not required.      
    • Visitors are required to wear St. Luke's-provided procedure masks, or personally supplied, non-valved N95s or KN95 masks. Personal cloth face coverings will not be permitted unless they are covered by a procedure mask. 
    • A visitor who does not wear a mask continuously and properly during a visit, will first be given a warning and will be reminded of the universal masking expectations. If, after a warning, they continue to violate the mask policy, they may be removed by security and added to a no-visit list.
    • If an egregious violation of St. Luke's masking policy occurs at any time, security may be contacted, and the visitor may be removed immediately.
  • Symptoms: Symptom screening of visitors is occurring at all clinical sites. Symptomatic visitors will not be allowed to visit.
  • Hand hygiene: Visitors must follow hand hygiene procedures. 
  • Physical distancing: There is adequate space in patient rooms and waiting areas for appropriate physical distancing. 
    • Visitors must follow strict aerosol generating procedure (AGP) policies and leave the patient room for the defined timeline during treatments.
  • PPE: There is adequate PPE for patients, visitors and health care workers. 
    • Visitors will receive appropriate PPE and instructions, including visitors for COVID positive patients. 
  • Eating: All will be allowed to eat meals in the patient room during a visit, but they must:
    • Be mindful to eat short meals
    • Keep the door closed
    • While eating, put on a mask when anyone enters the room (e.g., environmental services, nurse, provider)
    • Put a mask back on after eating

If an egregious violation of St. Luke's policies and/or safety measures occurs at any time, security may be contacted, and the visitor may be removed immediately.

Symptom Screening

No visitor exhibiting or reporting the following symptoms will be permitted, regardless of whether they meet the criteria above:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
Additionally, any visitor or ambulatory patient with recent COVID-19 infection must wait a minimum of 10 days after the start of COVID-19 infection, have improving symptoms, be fever free and off any fever-reducing medications for 24 hours.

Universal Masking (updated 2/2/22)

St. Luke’s has a policy of mandatory universal masking for patients, visitors, vendors and staff in all facilities. Entry will only be permitted with one of the following masks: 1) a St. Luke’s-provided procedure mask, 2) a self-supplied, non-valved N95, or 3) a self-supplied, non-valved KN95. Self-supplied masks may not be visibly soiled. These masks will be required in all patient care environments, as well as all common areas such as hallways, lobbies, waiting rooms, elevators, etc. Personal face coverings will only be permitted in patient care facilities when they are covered by a procedure mask provided by St. Luke's.

Instructions for Visitors

  1. You must stay in the room with the patient as much as possible. If you need to leave the room to eat or use the restroom, please only move through the facility to necessary locations and return promptly. 
  2. You must always wear a St. Luke's-provided procedure mask or your self-supplied, non-valved N95 or KN95 mask. 
  3. You must follow proper hand hygiene, as instructed by staff. 
  4. For the safety of patients and staff, you must maintain physical distancing from others of at least 6 feet or more.
  5. If you are directed to leave the room during a procedure, please follow staff direction. 
  6. We ask that you serve as the point of contact to update other family members/friends by telephone. 
We encourage only one visitor per 24-hour period (12 a.m.-11:59 p.m.). We ask that you limit the number of times you leave the facility and return. 

If you do not follow these instructions, you may be asked to leave the facility.


Additional Visitor Guidelines

  • In the hospital setting, how long you can stay is at the discretion of the healthcare team. It depends on the patient's condition, unit activity, and the need to prevent infection.
  • No smoking or other tobacco use is allowed within St. Luke's facilities or on any St. Luke's campus.
  • Cell phone use is permitted in most areas of the hospital. Cell phones are not permitted in critical care areas such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). If you are unsure, please ask your loved one’s nurse.
    • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones were recalled because of a defect that could cause the battery to catch fire. Due to the safety risk to St. Luke’s patients, guests and staff members, these phones have been banned at all St. Luke’s facilities. Please do not bring them with you when you are visiting us.
  • Latex balloons are not permitted, as many people experience latex allergies. However, mylar (non-latex) balloons are allowed in most units of the hospital. 
  • Only flowers and plants from florists are allowed in the hospital. Due to infection prevention policies, flowers are not permitted in critical care areas such as the ICU, NICU, and PICU. Non-latex balloons and cards are encouraged for patients in these areas.
  • Please check with the nurse before bringing gifts of food or drink. 

If you have any questions about visitor guidelines, please ask a nurse. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

More Resources for Visitors