What are the Updated COVID-19 Hospital Visitation Guidelines?

April 17, 2020

Hospital operators and staff were recently notified regarding an update to the New York Department of Health’s hospital visitation restrictions. This advisory, which was released on March 27, 2020, replaces all other previously issued guidelines.

The new guidelines, effective immediately, declare that hospitals must suspend all patient visitations. The exceptions to this rule include those who are patient support persons or family members/legal representatives in end-of-life situations. Patient support persons are permitted to be at the bedside of a patient during labor and delivery, pediatric patients, and those who are determined to be essential to the care of a patient, including those with developmental disabilities and cognitive impairments. A support person is necessary to the well-being of a patient, but they need to be aware of the risks involved during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals are doing all they can to keep the patients, their visitors, and the hospital staff safe during these dangerous times.

Labor and Delivery: One support person is considered essential to the patient during their stay at the hospital. This visitor can be with the patient through labor, delivery, and the postpartum period.

Pediatric Patients: Two people are allowed to be support visitors for the patient, but only one person may be present at a time.

Essential Care: Patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities or patients with cognitive impairments are allowed one support person at a time in the emergency room. Patients with prolonged hospitalizations may designate two support people, only one being present at a time.

End-of-Life Situations: One family member is permitted by the bedside of the patient. End-of-life situations are patients who are actively dying and may die within 24 hours. This patient may also designate up to two support people with one being present at a time.

COVID-19 Patients: If a patient has been admitted to the hospital because of a confirmed or suspected case of Coronavirus, the support person of this patient needs to follow certain protocol due to their close proximity to the virus. These protocols include wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, remaining in the patient’s room for the entirety of the time, and wearing a gown and gloves at all times while near the patient. The hospital staff will also screen the support person for symptoms of COVID-19 and conduct frequent temperature checks.

Hospitals are also expected to post signage to notify the public of the suspension of visitation. This signage should be posted in all hospital entrances, parking lots, and on the hospital’s social media accounts.

Brooklyn Elder Law Attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Help Clients with Hospital Visitation Concerns

Because of the difficult times we are currently facing, it can be difficult for loved ones and friends to see a patient who is either in the hospital or in a nursing home. If you believe your visitation rights to your elderly loved ones are being violated, contact the Brooklyn elder law attorneys at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP for an initial consultation. Call us today at 212-495-8133 or contact us online. We provide legal counsel to clients throughout New York and New Jersey from our offices in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Lakewood, New Jersey.