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Posted March 28, 2020
Under normal circumstances, Johns Hopkins Medicine welcomes our patients’ visitors 24/7. We know in-person visits provide support and reassurance for patients and families alike. We pride ourselves on being a patient- and family-centered organization
But the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult time for all of us. Times have changed quickly and dramatically due to the virus. As a patient-centered hospital, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this disease and protect our patients, staff and visitors.
In order to do this, our new visitor policy puts strong limits on visitors entering our hospitals and care facilities during this pandemic. No visitors will be permitted to visit or accompany patients, except for in certain situations.
Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention at Johns Hopkins, explains the reasons for this new visitor policy.
Why can’t I visit my loved one now?
COVID-19 is a contagious disease. It spreads quickly and can be dangerous, especially to people who are seriously ill or living with chronic conditions. A person can have COVID-19 with mild symptoms and unknowingly spread it to others.
When fewer people enter the hospital, there is a greater likelihood that more patients, doctors and care providers will stay safe and well.
We also need to save our limited personal protective equipment for our hospital staff so that they can care for your loved ones.
How can I support my family member?
We encourage phone and video visits. Our care staff can help set this up.
When you follow our policy, you are taking an active role in keeping your loved one safer, while also supporting the well-being of other patients and staff.
If hospital patients need items brought from home, they can only be 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.
- For The Johns Hopkins Hospital, items may be dropped off at the front desk at the Zayed, Weinberg and Nelson buildings.
- For Sibley, items may be dropped off at screening tables in Buildings A, B and D.
- For Suburban Hospital, items can 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 to the clinical areas.
- For Howard County General Hospital, items may be dropped at the visitor entrance.
- For Johns Hopkins Bayview medical center, items may be dropped off at the red awning entrance.
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 through firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will print up to 8 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 Hopkins community feel a little closer to the people and things they care about during this stressful time.
How long will this visitor policy last?
We cannot predict exactly how long active transmission of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 might last, so we must wait and monitor its progress before we can make changes to the visitor policy.
We thank you for your understanding.
Updated May 21, 2020
In order to protect our patients, visitors and staff from the spread of COVID-19, we are enacting an updated visitor policy for the Johns Hopkins Health System beginning March 21, 2020, and continuing until further notice. This plan applies to all patients who are seen in any Johns Hopkins Health System facility. We are also aligning our visitation restriction measures with the University of Maryland and other academic health systems across the country.
The following guidelines apply to all patients within the hospitals and clinical care areas in the Johns Hopkins Health System. Visitors who are allowed into our facilities will be screened for COVID-19 by answering health questions, and if they are symptomatic, they will be sent home. Anyone entering our healthcare facilities is required to wear a mask.
For adult inpatient facilities, no visitors will be permitted except under specific circumstances, and by prior approval from the Johns Hopkins Medicine care team. The exceptions are:
- End-of-life care: Two visitors are allowed at a time. Other family members need to remain outside of the facility to rotate in special circumstances
- One visitor in labor and delivery and post-partum
- One visitor for patients in inpatient hospice units
- One visitor for accompanying patients for hospital discharge
- One visitor for patients undergoing emergency surgery related to a traumatic event
- One visitor if the patient’s care team has requested the visitor to be a part of scheduled family training for patients with rehabilitation or for help with cognitive needs, with approval from the Johns Hopkins Medicine care team
For pediatric inpatient facilities – We must further restrict visitation to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to our patients and staff:
- The family of each pediatric patient is allowed to name up to two primary caregivers for the duration of the hospital stay.
- The caregivers should be parents or legal guardians and must be in good health and cannot change during the patient’s hospitalization.
- We ask that, as much as possible, only one primary caregiver be present in the hospital at any one time.
- Pediatric patients hospitalized with possible COVID-19 will be allowed only one designated caregiver who should stay with the patient in their room during the patient’s stay.
For all outpatient appointments:
- As we open our ambulatory surgery centers on May 18, we will not allow visitors to accompany patients inside our facilities. Please read more about elective surgeries and procedures.
- At Johns Hopkins Outpatient Centers (JHOC), one visitor is allowed to escort the patient to the reception area, and then the visitor must leave.
- Visitors are not allowed in our adult cancer centers where care is being delivered to potentially immunocompromised patients. Visitors can wait in the car or in designated area (per instruction at your hospital).
- Visitors are not allowed in our OB/GYN, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Fetal Assessment, Fetal Therapy or Perinatal Ultrasound suites.
- We encourage family, friends and loved ones to use electronic devices and apps to keep in contact with patients.
- One designated visitor for labor, delivery, and duration of mother’s hospital stay. The visitor is screened for COVID-19 and if is symptomatic, the visitor is sent home. Please note, any visitor must wear a mask.
- At The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Zayed 8 Security will record designated visitor’s name on visitation roster
- Once designated visitor arrives, designated visitor should remain in the patient’s room as much as possible (e.g. limit in-hospital trips to the cafeteria, gift shop, etc.)
- Exception is for visitation of infant in Newborn Intensive Care Unit
- If the designated visitor leaves the hospital then the visitor cannot return to the hospital
- Exceptions are on a case-by-case basis with management review (ie: Long term antenatal patients)
- For surgical procedures no visitors are allowed in the Operating Room – the designated visitor can wait in the patient’s room
- For patients triaged as under investigation (PUI) or COVID-19 positive patients
- The visitor will leave the hospital until the COVID-19 results are available
- No visitor for COVID-19 positive patients
- For PUIs who are determined to be COVID-19 negative, the designated visitor can return to the hospital to be with the patient
- The visitor will leave the hospital until the COVID-19 results are available
If a visitor is approved based upon the criteria above: consistent with the previous policy, any visitor who meets the above exception criteria must also follow the following process for the safety of staff and other patients:
- Visitors will be screened for flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath and will not be able to stay if symptomatic.