The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has issued updated visitation guidance (attached), effective today, that supersedes all previous DOH visitation guidance issued during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new guidance requires hospitals to permit in-person visitation, it allows hospitals to set the maximum number of visitation hours and visitors to various hospital units based on a patient’s status, condition, and circumstances, consistent with infection prevention and control parameters included in the guidance.
Parameters for Special Populations, Visitor Compliance, Hospital Responsibilities
The guidance reinforces the requirements for hospitals to permit support persons to be present in the hospital for special populations including pediatrics; patients in labor, delivery, and post-partum care; patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, or dementia; and patients at the end of life.
Patients undergoing same-day procedures may be accompanied by a companion who may remain in a designated hospital waiting area until the patient is discharged, unless this is not permitted by hospital policy due to the patient’s status, condition, or other circumstances.
The guidance includes specific criteria that visitors must adhere to while in the facility, as well as hospitals’ responsibilities to provide written information to visitors on the risks of being present in the facility and collect visitor information for contact tracing. Hospitals are also required to monitor visitor compliance with wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment.