**Please note: Due to COVID-19, visitor restrictions are in place. Learn more here.

The St. Peter’s Health visitation policy is designed to protect patients’ privacy and increase their comfort.

The purpose of this policy is to create a reasonable, enforceable policy that provides all patients with the opportunity to rest and recover in comfortable, quiet, private surroundings while enabling family and friends to participate in the healing process; to enhance the cohesiveness of the family unit and the patient’s support systems; and to provide access control that protects the rights of patients, visitors, and employees, to a safe, secure, and orderly environment.

Policy

At St. Peter’s Health, visitors are welcome 24 hours a day. Visitation will be restricted for health and safety reasons:

  • At patient request or legal guardian if patient is under age or becomes incapacitated.
  • Patient is observed by his or her nurse to be sleeping.
  • Patient is undergoing a medical procedure.
  • Restrictions initiated by St. Peter’s Health senior leadership or safety officer due to a crisis or special situation.

Any visitation restrictions will be documented in the medical record. Restrictions will be posted on the door to the patient's room or, in the case of a hospital-wide restriction, at the main entrances.

Failure to follow the hospital’s restrictions or to cooperate with hospital staff may result in removal from hospital property.

Guidelines and information for the public

St. Peter’s has developed visitor guidelines to protect the patients, visitors, and staff. Failure to cooperate with these guidelines or hospital staff requests may result in your removal from hospital property.

  • “Stop Signs” are posted on a patient room door to indicate isolation precautions. Visitors must check with a patient’s nurse prior to entering the patient room in order to receive specific instructions about isolation precaution procedures.
  • “No Visitation” doorknob hangers indicate the patient has requested no visitation, is sleeping, or undergoing a medical consult or procedure. No entry is allowed, but visitors may ask at the nursing station to leave a note or receive information on when visitation will resume.
  • Each patient has the right to designate visitors who shall receive the same visitation privileges as the patient's immediate family members, regardless of whether the visitors are legally related to the patient, a spouse or domestic partner. Family means any person who plays a significant role in an individual's life, which may include a person not legally related to the patient.
    • Patients have the right to decide who may and may not visit them and have the right to withdraw visitation consent at any time.
    • If a unit is restricted, the patient picks the visitors, not the hospital
  • The Hospital reserves the right to determine any situation that is necessary to limit or restrict visitation if:
    • Visitation may interfere with the care of patients or if a patient in isolation.
    • Visitors engage in disruptive, threatening or violent behavior of any kind.
    • Visitors exhibit behavior that presents a direct risk or threat to other patients or staff.
    • the Hospital is aware that there is an existing court order limiting or restricting contact.
  • A visitor may not enter areas posted with an “Authorized Personnel Only” sign.
  • Visitors are asked not to visit patients if they have a cold, cough, or other communicable illness. It is important to restrict exposure in order to prevent the spread of infectious diseases among patients, staff, volunteers and other visitors. When a patient requests the visitation of an individual who may be sick, the Hospital will make masks and other personal protective equipment available with instruction on its use.
  • Visitors may only go to the bedside of the child they are visiting.
  • Children under 12 years of age who are visiting must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Visitors are required to wear shirts and shoes and conduct themselves in a quiet and considerate manner.
  • Visitors cannot consume alcohol products or smoke on Hospital property.

Family Obstetrics Specific Rules

All general visitation rules are enforced on the Family Obstetrics unit plus the following:

  • The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Special Care Nursery are secured areas. No admittance is allowed unless under the supervision of the OB staff.

Visitors are asked to remember that new mothers are usually excited but tired and that brief visits are often best. Visitors are also asked to remember that a breastfeeding new mother will need privacy when it is time to nurse the baby.

  • Siblings under 12 are welcome to visit their mother and the new baby under the continuous supervision of an adult. Siblings should not be left in the care of the new mom.
  • Any visitation restrictions will be documented in the medical record.
  • One support person over the age of 18 or the father of the baby may stay overnight with the new mom and baby throughout their hospital stay. The purpose of overnight visitation is to allow the family to adjust to its newest member in the hospital setting. For this reason, those families who are planning overnight visitation should plan to keep the baby in their room through the night.

Emergency Department Specific Rules

All general visitation rules are enforced in the Emergency Department plus the following:

  • Visitors will stop at the ED registration desk and ask to visit a patient at which time registration calls the nurses’ station to ask permission to send the visitor back.
  • Visitors will not be allowed under circumstances that will interfere with patient care or health and safety reasons.
  • Any visitation restrictions will be documented in the medical record.

Behavioral Health Unit Specific Rules

All general visitation rules are enforced in the Behavioral Health Unit plus the following:

  • Visitors will stop at any entrance registration desk and ask to visit a patient at which time registration staff will ask the visitor's name, will then call the nurses’ station to ask permission to send the visitor to the floor, and the BHU staff will tell registration yes or no.
  • Any visitation restrictions will be documented in the medical record.

Prison Guarded Patients

All guarded prisoner-patients are denied visitors except terminal cases and those cases with special consideration, as approved by the custodian authority.

Enforcement

Visitors who do not follow this visitation policy may be removed from the hospital property. Hospital Security is available to assist in non-compliant, disruptive behavior.