Visitation Policy


Updated 3/30/2020

Effective immediately Emory Healthcare will limit all visitors to their facilities. Only patients who meet the exceptions below are allowed to have visitors. The new policy will be in place until the transmission of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is no longer a threat to patients, staff, and the community.

Inpatient Exceptions:

  • Obstetric patients may have one visitor, who may be the birth partner, birth coach, or Doula, and must be the same designated visitor throughout the patient’s stay.
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have one visitor who must be the same visitor throughout the patient’s stay.
  • Patients admitted for end of life evaluation and treatment, or patients being evaluated for and/or receiving hospice care, including persons under investigation (PUIs) and COVID-19 positive patients, may have two visitors. End-of-life is defined as anticipated death with an active DNR in place and/or planned withdrawal of life-sustaining interventions (e.g., ventilator).
  • Patients who are admitted for long term procedures may have one consistent caregiver for the length of their stay (examples would include bone marrow transplant, recovery from aggressive chemotherapy, involved cancer surgeries, or phased surgeries).

Outpatient Exceptions:

  • Patients who have an appointment at an Emory Healthcare outpatient clinic, laboratory, or imaging center who need assistance transporting themselves from arrival to practice site, or those in need of behavioral assistance, may have one visitor. It is anticipated that Winship and some Brain Health Center areas will have a higher percentage of these exceptions.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.

Emergency Room Expectations:

  • Emergency Department may have no visitors allowed with the following exceptions:
    • Patients with disruptive behavior, behavioral health, altered mental status, or developmental delays in which a family member is key to their care and history may have one visitor.
    • Minor patients under age 18 may have one visitor (parent or guardian).
    • Based on the clinical team's judgment (for example, for patient safety, history), one visitor may be permitted.
  • We do not expect any exceptions other than those identified above. In the event another extenuating circumstance occurs, the request will need to be submitted to the entity’s Incident Command Center or Administrator On Call (AOC) for approval prior to visitor entry.

General Guidelines For All Facilities:

  • No visitors will be allowed for patients who are a PUI for COVID-19 or have a pending or positive COVID-19 test, unless those patients are at end of life as defined above. Exceptions may also be made for laboring patients who are PUIs or COVID-19 positive at the discretion of the care team.
  • All visitors allowed per the exceptions above will be screened daily for symptoms including fever >100°F, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, congestion that differs from their typical seasonal allergies, body aches, fatigue, diarrhea. If visitor screens “YES” to any of the screening symptoms, visitor will not be allowed in the building or clinic.
  • Children under age 16 will not be allowed.
  • Visitors allowed per the exceptions above:
    • must stay in the patient room and will receive a badge/band, with the current date, that they must wear for the duration of their stay.
    • will be screened for symptoms daily.
    • will receive food trays delivered to the room to reduce their movement throughout the
  • Visitors allowed for patients who are a PUI for COVID-19 or who have a pending or positive COVID-19 test must wear recommended PPE for the duration of their stay, to include a mask.
  • One visitor will be allowed the same day of the patient’s discharge for discharge planning and education.
  • We strongly encourage no visitors over the age of 70 and no visitors with chronic conditions such as lung or heart disease, as these persons are at higher risk of complications if they contact COVID-19.
  • Vendors will be restricted to mission critical or direct patient care activities and will only be allowed in the building or clinic by appointment only.
  • Clergy are considered visitors and will be allowed for end of life situations as one of the two allowable visitors.
  • For the viewing of decedent bodies, visitors will be escorted to the room/morgue for viewing and then escorted back to the facility entrance for departure.