Visiting Policy | DCH Health System

Updated June 6, 2023

The DCH Healthcare System follows the federal hospital terms of participation 42 CFR § 482.13(h) and the visitation requirements of the Alabama Act 2023-24 in determining its visitation policy.

Many doctors’ practices in the DCH Medical Office Buildings are independent of DCH and have their own visiting rules. If you are coming for a doctor’s appointment, please contact the clinic office prior to arrival to check their requirements.

Visiting regulations for long-term care facilities differ from hospital requirements. Visitor Guidelines for the Fayette Medical Center Long Term Care Facility are updated as conditions change and can be found here -term-care-covid-updates/.

The visitation requirements of Alabama Act 2023-24 do not apply to designated psychiatric care facilities such as the North Harbor Pavilion at Northport Medical Center. The visiting rules for that area are as follows:

North port

  • Up to two support persons per patient, per day during designated visiting hours.
  • Days and times of visits to the geriatric unit

    • Wednesday and Friday, 16-17
    • Sunday, 15-17
  • Visiting days and times at the adult unit

    • Tuesday and Thursday, 15-17

Below are guidelines for visits to other areas. The following visitor restriction policy is effective as of 7:00am on June 7, 2023 and will remain in effect until further notice.

Visiting requirements for all other areas

Each patient or patient-designated decision maker may designate a single essential caregiver who is at least 19 years of age. As long as the staff’s ability to provide care is not impeded, the essential caregiver adds to the normal visitor numbers.

A member of the clergy may visit a patient’s room for up to two hours during normal visiting hours or after hours if there are extenuating circumstances such as an end-of-life event.

Unless otherwise indicated, visiting hours are from 4:30 to 21:00. From 9.00pm to 4.30am each day, no new visitors will be admitted except in extenuating circumstances such as end of life events. A single essential caregiver, designated by the patient or by the patient’s designated decision maker, can stay overnight, but that person must check in through security and be issued a visitor badge when visits close at 21:00

Each visitor must check in with security to receive a visitor badge before proceeding to a patient room.

Patients cannot leave their care area to go out to visit with others.

Consensual physical contact, such as hand holding or placing a hand on the patient’s arm, is permitted between patients and visitors. Intimate physical contact, such as intercourse, is not allowed.

  • Unless otherwise stated, any visitor authorized to enter an area must:

    • Wear personal protective equipment under certain circumstances as deemed necessary by clinical staff.
    • Agree to practice good hand hygiene.
    • Remain in the patient room or assigned waiting room.
    • Be courteous and kind to staff and others.
    • Follow all instructions from clinical staff.
    • Be at least 19 years old. Persons aged 18 and under may visit, but must be accompanied and supervised at all times by a person aged 19 or over. The minor and accompanying adult are each counted as individual visitors where visitor number restrictions apply. An individual 18 years of age or younger cannot be designated as a patient’s essential caregiver.

Patients with infectious diseases

  • One support person will be permitted at a time for all patients with an infectious disease other than corresponding end-of-life events, palliative care and/or consultations.

    • The support person must check in at the nurse’s station and receive instructions.
    • The support person must use approved personal protective equipment at all times during the visit and will be expected to follow all instructions from clinical staff relating to the visit.

End of life events for patients with infectious diseases

  • The number of support persons present during end-of-life events will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

    • Support persons must check in at the nurse’s station and receive instructions.
    • Support persons will be required to follow all instructions from clinical staff regarding the visit.

Patients hospitalized for non-infectious diseases

  • Any patient who does not have an infectious disease may have up to two visitors (with the exceptions noted below) in the patient room, as long as this can be done without hampering the staff’s ability to provide appropriate care.

intensive care unit

  • ICU visits may be limited due to the patient’s medical condition. Up to two visitors at a time per ICU patient.

RMC / NMC Women’s Services

  • General visits for those who are not the designated support person will be 9am to 9pm

    • neonatal intensive care – Up to two visitors at a time per NICU patient. A maximum of two visitors per day can access.

      • Each visitor must have a patient identification band.
      • Support persons for NICU patients are exempt from general visiting hours.
      • To avoid overcrowding, NICU staff may need to limit the total number of people in the unit at any given time. Visitors must respect these restrictions if implemented.
    • Triage visitors – The nurse may request to interview and evaluate the patient in triage. If the separation is an unwelcome issue for the patient and/or caregivers, a visitor may be permitted.
    • Labor and delivery – Each patient can have up to two visitors in the LDRP room. Visitors must check-in at the nurse’s station.
    • Antepartum and Postpartum – At the end of the patient recovery period, each patient can receive up to three visitors at a time.
    • Section C – Patients can receive up to two visitors in the operating room if the patient is not under general anesthesia.

      • Participants can leave the operating room when the child is brought to daycare and can return to the operating room if they wish.
      • Patient privacy will be maximized by keeping the doors closed.
    • Visit the brothers – Siblings aged 12 and over can visit between the hours of 9:00 and 21:00. Siblings younger than 12 may visit during the postpartum/antepartum stay between 4-7pm. They must be accompanied by an adult. Siblings must be free of infection and have a report of no known contact with communicable diseases in the past three weeks.
  • The visit can be interrupted at the discretion of the Nurse/Doctor or if the conditions of the mother and the child require it.
  • Visitors must not remain in the waiting area after the end of the established visiting hours.

Outpatient cancer treatment

  • An outpatient cancer visitor for initial consultation, treatment modification, and/or discussion of test results only due to patients’ compromised immune systems.
  • One visitor per outpatient cancer patient for treatment (only if the patient is not healthy enough or mobile enough to proceed without assistance; otherwise, no visitors).

Emergency Department

  • In order to preserve limited common area space, up to one support person may accompany a patient 19 years of age and older in the waiting area of ​​the Emergency Department and when the individual has been allocated a private room.
  • For patients 18 years of age and younger, up to two visitors may accompany the patient into the waiting area of ​​the Emergency Department and when the individual has been assigned a private room.
  • If the patient needs to be temporarily placed in an aisle bed, visits will be permitted but limited to short intervals to avoid congestion.
  • Each visitor must remain in the patient’s room.

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