Coronavirus: Visitor Policy

Our patient care philosophy depends greatly on engaging families to be part of the healing process. However, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we must take extra steps to protect our patients, staff, visitors and the community. Effective immediately, we are restricting visitations within our UW Medicine hospitals. All routine visiting is being suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community.

The decision to restrict visitors was difficult and made only after careful consideration as we witness schools, houses of worship and other venues restrict gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Exceptions to the visitor policy

We recognize that there are times when having a visitor or family member present is crucial. In these cases, visitors will be allowed based on the exceptions listed below.

Please note in all cases a visitor will only be allowed if they do not have symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath).

Additionally, children under the age of 16 will not be allowed except under extraordinary circumstances. Exceptions include:

  • Obstetric patients may have one birth support person accompany them.
  • Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have one birth parent plus one significant other who must remain in the room for the duration of the visit.
  • Patients who are at the end-of-life may have two visitors.
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a family member is key to their care, may have one visitor.
  • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety) may have one visitor.
  • Minors under the age of 18 may have one visitor, either a parent or a guardian.
  • Patients undergoing surgery or procedures may have one visitor who must leave the hospital as soon as possible after the procedure/surgery.
  • Patients who have an appointment at a UW Medicine hospital-based clinic, laboratory or radiology, as well as those visiting the Emergency Department, may have one person with them.
  • Patients who are receiving lodging services as part of their medical treatment plan are excluded from the visitor restriction policy.

Visitors allowed must stay in the patient's room the entire time of the visit. Once the visitor leaves the patient room, they must leave the medical center.

Please note that visitors will not be allowed for patients with a pending or positive COVID-19 test.

We appreciate your understanding during these uncertain times. Our goal is to protect you, your loved ones, our staff and our community.

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

As of April 2, 2020, UW Medicine Montlake and Northwest campuses will restrict to ONE healthy support person to stay during labor, delivery, and the postpartum stay. The support person and mom will stay together until the family is discharged home together.  Support people will not be able to leave and come back to the hospital; your support person must be at least 16 years old.

To maintain social distancing for your safety and that of others, we will not be able to permit walking in the hallways.  However, you can continue to move around in your room and call out for food and drinks.  Our staff will bring these items directly to your room.

We ask that you plan in advanced to arrange care of other children, family members, and pets, etc. 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.

This was a difficult decision for the leadership team to make.  We previously allowed 2 support individuals (partner and doula) during labor as we recognized the support and crucial role that doulas play in the care of our birthing parents.  However, the data has become compelling that part of the fight against this pandemic is limiting exposure in order to decrease the number of new cases. Doing so will help keep our current healthy families healthy and allow us to focus on providing all the resources available to our most critically ill patients.

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, sudden loss of taste and/or smell.

We appreciate that these policies may present some hardships for you, but we trust that you understand that our sole intent is to keep you, your baby, family, and community as safe as possible. We are incredibly inspired by the hard work of our colleagues in the healthcare field right now and the outpouring of support from the whole community. We are all in this together, and we will get through this together. Please talk to your provider about your questions and concerns so you can address them together.