COVID-19: Visitor Policy

Updated June 2, 2020

Our patient care philosophy recognizes the many benefits of engaging families and friends in the healing process. However, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been taking extra measures to protect our patients, visitors and staff, including restrictions on routine visiting at our UW Medicine hospitals: Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center – Montlake, UW Medical Center – Northwest and Valley Medical Center.

At the current time, patients may have one visitor in the hospital, subject to the restrictions and exceptions described below.

Visitors will be screened at specified entry points for symptoms of respiratory illness. These symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, headache, runny nose, and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Any visitor with these symptoms will not be allowed to enter a UW Medicine hospital. Only asymptomatic visitors will be allowed into hospital facilities. Visitation also is limited by each hospital’s visiting hours and policies.

  • Each visitor must wear a mask while in any hospital facility.
  • Visitors should stay in the patient’s room except when arriving at or departing from the hospital.
  • No visitors under the age of 16 will be allowed.
  • Patients who are under the age of 18 may have one visitor, or parents or guardians.
  • In our childbirth units, patients will be allowed two healthy support persons with them during labor; two hours after delivery only one support person will be able to remain at the bedside, and the second person will be required to leave the hospital.
  • Patients who are at the end of life may have two visitors:
    • End of life refers to a patient who is highly likely to die in the coming days and is not restricted to patients who are receiving palliative care.
    • Each unit manager has the discretion to limit the duration of the visit based on clinical considerations.
    • Visits from a minor are permissible if accompanied by a parent or guardian and approved by the care team.
  • Patients who need a caregiver for safety because of their mental or developmental status or for their disability, such as hearing loss or vision impairment, may have one visitor in addition to their caregiver. 
  • Patients who require a home caregiver to be trained may have one visitor in addition to the caregiver.
  • Community-based care providers, who are involved in the care of the patient, may visit for support and care continuity in addition to the patient’s one visitor. 
  • Members of the spiritual community may visit patients in addition to one visitor.
  • Visitors may not remove supplies or equipment from the hospital.  
  • UW Medicine employees who have family members in the hospital are subject to the same restrictions on visitation.
  • No visitors will be allowed in rooms of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are being tested for COVID-19, except for end-of-life patients (see above).
  • No other visitors will be allowed in any hospital facility at this time. 

We appreciate your understanding as we continue to provide the safest possible environment for our patients, visitors and staff. Please talk to your healthcare team if you have any questions or concerns. 

Thank you.

Visitation Policy for Childbirth (C-section or Vaginal Birth)

At UW Medicine, we recognize that while labor is a momentous occasion, it can also be scary — especially during COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, we have implemented safety measures to protect both mom and baby. With our rapid screening test, universal masking for employees and limited visitor policy, we are doing everything we can to ensure you have a safe, healthy delivery.

As of May 19, 2020, moms-to-be at UW Medicine – Montlake and UW Medicine – Northwest campuses are allowed two healthy support persons to stay with them during active labor.

This policy allows you to have support during your delivery, while providing a safe environment for you, baby and our entire community. For your safety, we will continue to screen everyone coming to the hospital for symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may include fever, body aches, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, and sudden loss of taste and/or smell.

Our childbirth policy also includes the following:

  • Your support people must be at least 16 years old.
  • Two hours after delivery, one support person will be able to remain bedside, but the second person will be required to leave the hospital.
  • During labor, you cannot walk in the hallways, but you may move around in your room. If you need food or drinks, our staff will bring these items directly to your room.
  • Please arrange care of other children, family members and pets in advance so that you and your support person can stay together and focus on your birth and new baby. 
  • Please bring everything you will need for your stay, including an infant car seat and favorite food items.

We appreciate your understanding as we work to keep you, your baby and the entire community as safe as possible. Please talk to your provider if you have any questions or concerns.