Updated 6/10/20

As we continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation, we are adjusting our policies and procedures to ensure we are prioritizing patient and staff safety. Effective Wednesday, June 10, 2020, Emory Healthcare (EHC) will continue limiting all visitors within our facilities. We are updating the exceptions to our visitor policy for specific patient populations as well as screening visitors for COVID-19 symptoms and asking that all visitors wear masks to promote social distancing. The new policy will be in place until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to patients, staff, and the community.

Visitor Screening: All visitors will be screened daily for symptoms, including fever for fever greater than or equal to 100°F cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, new or worsened congestion that differs from their typical seasonal allergies, body aches, fatigue, loss of smell/taste, diarrhea. If visitor screens “YES” to any of the screening symptoms, the visitor will not be allowed in the building or clinic.

Masks: All patients and visitors are required to wear a mask while in our facilities. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided upon your arrival. 

Patient Visitor Guidelines:

  • No children under age 16.
  • 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.
  • One visitor will be allowed the same day of a patient’s discharge for discharge planning and education.
  • PUI or confirmed COVID-19: No visitors, except end of life or laboring PUIs as defined in the policy.
    • If visitors allowed under our outlined exceptions, visitors must wear recommended PPE for the duration of the stay, including a mask.
  • Inpatient hospitalizations, if visitor allowed will follow the parameters described below:
    • 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 facility.
  • 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.
  • Vendors and Emory Healthcare employees must follow restricted visitor policy for any non-business related visits to a patient
  • 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.

Exceptions to the Visitor Policy:

  • Obstetrics: 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 two visitors who must be the same visitor throughout the patient’s stay.
  • End of Life: Patients admitted for end of life evaluation and treatment, or patients being evaluated for and/or receiving hospice care, including PUIs, suspected COVID-19 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). Clergy are considered visitors and will be allowed for end of life situations as one of the two allowable visitors.
  • Minors: All minors, patients under the age of 18, will be allowed one visitor for the duration of their visit or hospitalization.
  • Outpatient Surgery and Procedures: Patients undergoing outpatient surgery or procedures may have one designated visitor who will be permitted to assist with the arrival and registration process if needed. This visitor will leave the facility during the procedure, remain near the premises, and will be contacted by phone post-procedure.
  • Outpatient Appointments: Patients may have one visitor if they need physical assistance transporting to an appointment or support for cognitive or behavioral impairments (including but not limited to Power of Attorney).
  • Inpatient hospitalizations: Patients undergoing inpatient surgery or being admitted to the hospital may have one designated visitor who will be permitted to assist with the arrival and registration process if needed. This visitor will be asked to leave the building during the procedure and for the remainder of the inpatient hospitalization unless an alternate exception is applicable. Visitors and/or caregivers will be kept informed through telephone and virtual communications.
  • Emergency Department: No visitors allowed with the following exceptions:
    • Patients with disruptive behavior, behavioral health, altered mental status, developmental delays or safety concerns in which a family member is key to their care or necessary to provide a history may have one visitor.

As a reminder, all patients and visitors are required to wear a mask while in our facilities. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided upon your arrival. 

We do not anticipate 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 local leadership, Incident Command Center, or Administrator On Call (AOC) for approval prior to visitor entry.