Special Visitor Policies Due to COVID-19

Current Visitor Policies

Special Visitor Policies Due to COVID-19

Current as of January 14, 2022

Visitor policies are in place to help ensure a safe, trusted and comfortable care environment for all patients, visitors, physicians and staff.

Effective January 17, the following visitor policies are in effect at all Northwestern Medicine facilities.

Diagnostic Testing, Surgery, Outpatient Facilities and Immediate Care Centers

  • As required by the state of Illinois and in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, patients and companions must be masked at all times, including in exam rooms. Eating and drinking are not permitted in exam rooms because it would require periodic unmasking. Those who do not comply with the masking policy will be asked to leave.
  • If allowed, companions are limited to one unless the patient is under age 18. Companions must be 18 or older unless they are a patient’s parent who is under 18.
  • Companions are only allowed in the following circumstances:
    • For patients under the age of 18 (may have two companions)
    • For patients undergoing surgery
    • For patients who need transportation home after an outpatient visit
      • Please note: Companion may be asked to wait somewhere other than the waiting room and will be notified when the patient is ready to be picked up.
    • For patients who have an intellectual, developmental or cognitive disability and require a reasonable accommodation for assistance
    • For patients who need compassionate support during a visit, such as, but not limited to:
      • Partner of a patient receiving an obstetrics ultrasound
      • Companion for a patient with a new cancer diagnosis

Inpatient Facilities and Emergency Departments

  • As required by the state of Illinois and in alignment with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, patients and companions must be masked at all times, including in exam rooms. Eating and drinking are not permitted in exam rooms because it would require periodic unmasking. Those who do not comply with the masking policy will be asked to leave.
  • Two visitors at a time may be in a patient’s private room during visiting hours for inpatients not being treated for COVID-19.
  • Each patient in a semi-private inpatient room not being treated for COVID-19 is allowed one visitor.
  • Visiting hours are 10 am to 8 pm at all hospitals. Inpatient behavioral services and pediatric departments may have different visiting hours.
  • Inpatient waiting rooms are open with physical distancing and masking requirements in place. To meet physical distancing requirements in the waiting room, visitors may be asked to wait in a public lobby or in their car until the patient is in an exam room.
  • Visitors must check in at the front desk, be screened for COVID-19 and wear a visitor badge indicating that they have been screened.
  • Patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatric and Pediatric Intensive Care units may have two visitors 18 and older who are wearing ID bands.
  • Patients in emergency departments who are not being treated or tested for COVID-19 may have one visitor. Patients under the age of 18 may have two visitors 18 or older.
  • Patients in labor may have two support people, one of whom may be a doula, in their delivery room. Two visitors are allowed during visiting hours for patients who are postpartum.
  • No visitors are allowed for patients being evaluated for COVID-19 until a COVID-19 infection is ruled out.
  • All visitors must be 18 or older. Exceptions will be made if a patient’s parent is younger than 18.

Outside of designated visiting hours, visitors are not allowed, with the following exceptions:

  • Patients under the age of 18 may have two banded visitors/caregivers.
  • Postpartum patients may have one visitor.
  • Patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric or Pediatric Intensive Care Unit may have two visitors.
  • Patients in need of compassionate care, including those desiring pastoral care visits and those at the end of life, may have more than two visitors, at the discretion of the clinical care team.
  • Patients with disabilities who require a reasonable accommodation for assistance may have two support persons, one at a time.

These visitor policies are subject to change at any time.