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Visitor Guidelines for Patient Care Partners During COVID-19

Updated June 15, 2021

The health and safety of our patients, families and staff members is our top priority. Our care partner visitation guidelines balance preventing the spread of  the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 with the needs of our patients and their loved ones. A care partner may be a relative, partner, friend or anyone the patient chooses to have at their side during care. Care partners must be 18 or older, except for those under 18 who are parents of patients. Guidelines may vary slightly depending on care needs and location.

We continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in our community and may update the guidelines as needed to provide safe care to everyone.

The State of Maryland’s Support Persons for Individuals with Disabilities (PDF)

  • Outpatient Guidelines

    I wish to accompany an adult or pediatric patient who has an outpatient appointment (all care not requiring an overnight hospital stay).

    An illustration of two adults speaking with a doctor.
  • Inpatient Guidelines

    I wish to accompany an adult or pediatric patient who is an inpatient at a hospital (all care requiring an overnight hospital stay).

    An illustration of a doctor speaking to a patient at their bedside.
  • Resources to Connect Virtually

    I wish to connect virtually to a patient who is an inpatient at a hospital.

    An illustration of two people communicating virtually.
 
Illustration of a man wearing a mask

Safety Guidelines Update

On May 13, 2021, the CDC revised safety guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. The updated guidelines state that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

The CDC continues to recommend that masks and physical distancing are required when going to the doctor’s office, hospitals or long-term care facilities.

Our current safety guidelines have not changed and we still require all individuals to wear masks inside all of our facilities.

 

Determining Care Partner and Visitation Levels

Care partner visitation guidelines help protect our patients, their care partners and our staff members by limiting spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The visitation risk levels are based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community according to state and county public health information, as well as conditions in our healthcare environments.

Please note: The clinical team may restrict visitation in certain cases of extremely immunocompromised or high-risk patients.

 
 

Outpatient Guidelines

An illustration of two adults speaking with a doctor.

The following guidelines are for care partners accompanying patients at a Johns Hopkins Medicine care center who do not require an overnight stay. A care partner may be a relative, partner, friend or anyone the patient chooses to have at their side during care. Care partners must be 18 or older, except for those under 18 who are parents of patients.

Please review the Care Partner Guidelines: What You Need to Know section before you come to the hospital so you understand what is expected.

Starting Tuesday, May 25, 2021:

Most Johns Hopkins Medicine outpatient clinics and surgery centers


Risk levels are assessed and adjustments weekly. When visitation levels are limited, exceptions will be made to accommodate patients with disabilities.

Yellow Level Outpatient Care Partner Guidelines - Some Limits

 LEVEL YELLOW: MEDIUM RISK
Ambulatory Surgery Centers; Hospital-based
Adult Same Day Surgery
  • One care partner may be with the patient until the patient is taken into the prep area if there is enough space for physical distancing.
  • The care partner may wait in the waiting room if there is enough space for physical distancing.
  • One care partner may be with the patient in recovery if there is enough space for physical distancing.
Ambulatory Obstetrics and Gynecology;
Maternal Fetal Medicine, Fetal Assessment;
Fetal Therapy; or Perinatal Ultrasound
  • One care partner may be with patient throughout the visit, including in waiting areas.
Outpatient Cancer Center Clinics; Infusion Suites
  • One care partner may be with patient throughout the visit, including in waiting areas.
  • For infusion suites where there may not be enough space to accommodate a care partner: One care partner may accompany patient to and from the patient’s space in the infusion suite and wait in the waiting room during the infusion.
Adult office Visits at Any Johns Hopkins Medicine Facility
  • One care partner may be with patient throughout the visit, including in waiting areas.
Pediatric Office Visits at Any Johns Hopkins Medicine Facility
  • Up to two care partners; no one else (including siblings) may come with the care partner(s) and patient to the visit.
 

Inpatient Guidelines

An illustration of a doctor speaking with a patient at their bedside.

Care partner visitation guidelines help protect our patients, their care partners and our staff members by limiting spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The visitation risk levels are based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community according to state and county public health information, as well as conditions in our healthcare environments.

Please note: The clinical team may restrict visitation in certain cases of extremely immunocompromised or high-risk patients.

Visiting hours are as follows:

  • Care partners who can visit adult patients according to the guidelines must arrive at the hospital front entrance between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. and must exit the hospital no later than 9 p.m.
  • Care partners/parents/guardians for pediatric emergency room and pediatric in-patients may arrive 24/7. 

It is important to review the Care Partner Guidelines: What You Need to Know section before you come to the hospital so you understand what is expected.

Starting Tuesday, May 11, 2021:

The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Adult inpatient visits: Please use entrances at the Nelson Building (600 N. Wolfe St.) or at the Zayed Building, Ground or Main Level (1800 Orleans St.)

Johns Hopkins Children’s Center

  • Yellow level (Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19)
  • Yellow level (Patients who do not have COVID-19/are not suspected of having COVID-19)

Visit the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center page for more information

Pediatric inpatient visits: Please use the Children’s Center entrance at the Bloomberg Building (1800 Orleans St.)

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

Howard County General Hospital

Suburban Hospital

Please check with the facility on additional visitation restrictions.

Sibley Memorial Hospital

Please use Building B entrance at 5255 Loughboro Rd. NW

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Please review the full Johns Hopkins All Children’s visitor policy for more information.

Risk levels are assessed weekly. You can learn about the visitation levels by using the links. 

LEVEL YELLOW: Some limits to visits

Please review the guidelines below for visits. It is also very important to review the Care Partner Guidelines: What You Need to Know section before you come to the hospital so you can be sure you understand what is expected.

Exceptions may be granted under the following circumstances:

  • A patient with a disability needs assistance.
    • Up to two care partners may be identified so they can take turns being with the patient 24 hours per day, if needed.
    • One care partner may be at the bedside at a time.
  • Please speak with your care team about requests for exceptions.

Yellow Level Inpatient Care Partner Guidelines - Some Limits

Type of Inpatient VisitNumber of Care Partners
Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19Adult
  • No care partners may visit except for end-of-life care, medical necessity and patients in labor.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
Pediatrics
  • One parent or guardian may be present; must stay with the patient in their room throughout the patient’s stay.
  • Neonatal ICU policies for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 may vary. Please check with local leadership.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
Shared Spaces
(for example, semiprivate rooms,
bays, waiting rooms)
  • No care partners may visit except for end-of-life care and medical necessity.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
Adult patients prior to a surgery or
procedure requiring an inpatient
hospitalization in a private room
  • One care partner can be with the patient until patient is taken into prep, provided there is enough space for physical distancing.
  • Once the patient is taken into the prep area, the care partner must leave until the clinical care team contacts the care partner to join the patient in an inpatient room.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
Emergency Department
(patients in private rooms)
  • One care partner per emergency department visit, provided there is enough space for physical distancing.  
  • The care partner will be called once the patient is in a private room.
  • Must be the same care partner throughout the stay.
Obstetrics/Labor and Delivery
  • One care partner may visit per day and will be permitted for labor, delivery, and duration of birth parent’s hospital stay.
  • If care partners need to rotate, the new care partner may arrive the day after the current care partner exits the hospital.
  • One doula is permitted for labor and delivery.
  • One care partner OR one doula is allowed in the operating room during surgical delivery.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
Pediatrics
(patients who do not have COVID-19/are
not suspected of having COVID-19)
  • Up to two care partners may be at the bedside at the same time; end-of-life care exceptions for siblings may apply.
  • Care partners must be the parents/guardians or be approved by the parents/guardians.
  • Care partners may rotate during the day and care partners may stay overnight as long as there are only two care partners at the bedside at a time.
    • Applies to inpatient, all surgeries and procedures, and emergency department visits.
  • For patients having surgery or a procedure at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital
    • Two parents/guardians may accompany patient to waiting area.
    • Both parents/guardians may accompany patient in prep area.
    • One parent/guardian at a time to recovery, they may swap-out.
Psychiatry
(All care partners to inpatient psychiatry
units must be approved in advance by
the service line leader, nurse manager,
and clinical director/vice chair.)
  • One care partner may be permitted at the discretion of the clinical team; must be the same care partner throughout stay.
  • Time and duration of visit will be determined by clinical team.
End of Life (all patients)
  • Up to two care partners at the bedside at the same time; care partners may switch out throughout the day, for as long as the clinical team deems that it is safe and feasible.
Patients requiring aerosol-generating procedures
(e.g. continuous nebulizers)
  • No care partners may be in the patient’s room during the procedure but they may enter once the procedure is done.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
All Other Adult Inpatients
  • One care partner may visit per day; care partner may change during admission.
  • If care partners need to rotate, the new care partner may arrive the day after the current care partner exits the hospital (does not apply to end of life).
  • If the number of care partner rotations is a safety concern for the care team, they will discuss with the patient and rotations may require a visitor exception.
  • Please speak with your care team about visitor exceptions.
 

Care Partner Guidelines: What You Need to Know

A care partner for outpatient or inpatient visits may be a relative, partner, friend or anyone the patient chooses to have at their side during care. Care partners must be 18 or older, except for those under 18 who are parents of patients.

The number of care partners welcomed will depend on the area of the hospital and patient circumstances.

  • Care partners will be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms through a verbal screening when entering the building or in advance by using the Johns Hopkins mobile COVID screening via smartphone, and they will not be able to stay if they:
    • Feel sick
    • Have symptoms of COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms
    • Tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 within the last three weeks.
    • Have been advised to get a COVID-19 test but have not yet obtained one
    • Are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test
    • Have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last two weeks.
    • Have been asked to be on home quarantine or isolation.
  • Face masks are required to enter any of our care facilities and expected to be worn at all times. We will provide a mask if needed. Neck gaiters, bandanas, masks with exhalation valves, or clear shield-like face masks are not permitted to be worn as face coverings at Johns Hopkins Medicine facilities.
  • For more information about face masks see the How to Properly Wear a Face Mask: Infographic and the Coronavirus Face Masks & Protection FAQs
  • Follow all physical distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.

In addition, all care partners for inpatients must follow these safety precautions:

Please note, care partners for inpatients must communicate their name to hospital staff and have the information entered into the hospital’s records before they can visit the patient at the hospital. This may be done upon admission, before a scheduled surgery or by a patient’s care team.

  • Care partners who can visit adult patients according to the guidelines must arrive at the hospital front entrance between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. and must exit the hospital no later than 9 p.m.
  • Care partners/parents/guardians for pediatric emergency room and pediatric in-patients may arrive 24/7. 
  • Be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms through either a verbal screening when entering the building or in advance by using Johns Hopkins’ mobile COVID screening via smartphone.
  • Wear an approved face mask at all times, including in the patient's room.
    • These face coverings are not approved: bandanas, gaiters, masks with exhalation valves or clear shield-like face masks. 
  • Practice physical distancing (including to the extent possible in the patient’s room).
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer often, including upon entering the hospital and at each entry and exit to the patient's room.
  • Remain in the patient’s room except to use the restroom, get something to eat or drink outside of the patient's room, if they are directed to do so by the care team, or to exit for the day. 
  • Care partners are not allowed to eat or drink in adult patient rooms or in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
  • If care partners are permitted to rotate, the new care partner may arrive the day after the current care partner exists the hospital (care partners for patients at the end of life may change on the same day).

Care partners must follow all safety precautions, even if vaccinated for COVID-19. Learn more about what key practices to follow after you receive both vaccine doses.

Important Details

  • Visitation risk levels will be evaluated weekly.
  • Visitation risk level will be communicated at front entrances and on digital displays.
  • If conditions worsen, we will initiate and communicate further restrictions, as needed.

Resources to Connect Virtually to Patients

An illustration of two adults communicating virtually.

During all visitation risk levels, we encourage phone and video visits. See a list of resources to connect to loved ones in the hospital. Our care staff can help set this up.

Patient Belongings and Essential Items

If a care partner is unable to visit due to safety restrictions or other reasons and the patient requires essential items from home, these items may be dropped off at the following locations. Please only bring essential items, such as hearing aids, glasses, dentures, communication devices (mobile phones, laptops, chargers), and small, inexpensive spiritual or religious items. Each hospital has a specific location for dropping off items.

  • The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Items may be dropped off at the front desk at the Zayed, Weinberg and Nelson buildings.
  • Sibley Memorial Hospital: Items may be dropped off at screening tables in Buildings A, B and D.
  • Suburban Hospital: Items may be dropped off at the main hospital entrance and given to the security officer at the information desk. Security will be responsible for tracking and delivering items to the clinical areas.
  • Howard County General Hospital: Items may be dropped off at the visitor entrance.
  • Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center: Items may be dropped off at the red awning entrance.
  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: Items may be brought in by parents or guardians.

JHH Friendly Faces

To help connect patients with their loved ones, we have created a way for friends and families to share pictures with hospital patients through email. Simply email your favorite photos to JHH Friendly Faces at jhhfriendlyfaces@jh.edu, and a staff member will print up to eight photos per patient and deliver them to the patient’s bedside. Please make sure to include the patient’s full name and room number in the email. The goal of JHH Friendly Faces is to help our Johns Hopkins community feel a little closer to the people and things they care about during this stressful time.

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