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Visitor Restrictions

NorthShore maintains our commitment to keeping you safe while you are in our care. We understand how important it is for patients to have the support of loved ones while in the hospital or while receiving care at one of our facilities. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, NorthShore has instituted the following visitor restriction policies to ensure the health and safety of our patients, their families and our staff (effective May 11, 2020 until further notice). Please note that policies may vary depending on site and type of care as noted below.

Inpatient Admissions:

  1. For safety reasons, no inpatient visitors will be allowed at any of our campuses, except under Extenuating Circumstances. In such cases visitors must undergo our Visitor Screening
  2. We ask that all inpatients identify one family/friend/representative to communicate with the Care Team while during a hospitalization. This will allow the caregivers to provide uninterrupted care.
    • We encourage patients to keep in contact with family members and friends virtually (phone, FaceTime, or other phone-based video communication), and/or text. All nursing units have the limited ability to coordinate use of an in-house tablet for video visits.
  3. On the day of discharge, one family member or visitor who has passed our Visitor Screening (see Visitor Screening Process) will be allowed to enter the patient room to hear discharge instructions and assist in departure from the hospital. It is also possible to do this virtually.

Emergent and Urgent Surgery/Procedure Patients:

During hospitalization for a significant surgical/procedure or an urgent surgical/invasive procedure, one screened companion (see Visitor Screening Process) will be allowed in the surgical waiting area during the duration of the procedure. If the companion has a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater OR responds yes to ANY one of the screening symptoms, they will not be allowed to enter the facility and will be asked to wait outside/in their car until the test or appointment has ended. If the companion passes the screening, they will be allowed to wait in the surgical waiting room with their mask on and must practice social distancing for the duration of the procedure. After the procedure, the companion will be escorted out. Once you are admitted to the inpatient floor, visits are only allowed under Extenuating Circumstances.

Labor & Delivery/ISCU/Post-Partum Patients:

Only the partner or one visitor who passes the screening (see Visitor Screening Process) may visit. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the unit’s nursing staff and the patient’s physician.

Adolescent Psychiatric Care:

Only the partner or one visitor who passes the screening (see Visitor Screening Process) may visit the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Highland Park Hospital for parent conference purposes. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the unit’s nursing staff and the patient’s hospital physician.

Infant Special Care Unit: 

With the exception of extenuating circumstances, only mom and support person designated will be allowed to visit the newborn in the ISCU. Only one person will be allowed at the baby’s bedside at a time to ensure social distancing in the nursery rooms. Designated Support person will undergo Visitor Screening (see Visitor Screening Process).

Outpatients:

We ask that all patients coming for outpatient testing or office visits come alone for their appointment, if possible. If you need a companion for your visit, only one person will be allowed to accompany you to your visit. Your companion will undergo our screening process (see Visitor Screening Process). If your companion has a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater OR responds yes to ANY one of the symptoms, they will not be allowed to enter the facility and will be asked to wait outside/in their car until the test or appointment has ended.

Ambulatory Surgery/Procedure Patients:

We ask that all patients coming for an ambulatory surgery/procedure come alone for their appointment, if possible. If you need a companion to help check you in, only one person will be allowed to accompany you. Your companion will be asked to wear a mask during the check in and will be asked to wait in their car until your procedure is completed. Staff will then call your companion to ask them to return to pick you up. In rare instances, if your companion is unable to wait in their car, they will be asked to undergo the visitor screening process (see Visitor Screening Process). If your companion has a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater OR responds yes to ANY one of the symptoms, they will not be allowed to enter the facility and will be asked to wait outside/in their car until the test or appointment has ended. If your companion passes the screening, they will be allowed to wait in the waiting room with their mask on and must practice social distancing for the duration of the procedure.

Emergency Department Patients:

If you are coming to our Emergency Department, you will be allowed to have one screened companion (see Visitor Screening Process) to come with you to the ED treatment area. If it is determined that you need to be admitted to the hospital, no visitors will be allowed to accompany you to the inpatient units with the exception of minors. MINORS who are admitted to the hospital will be able to have one screened parent or guardian accompany them. The family member/visitor should leave the room if an aerosol generating procedure is needed.

Visitor Screening Process

Upon arrival to the hospital or site of care, the visitor (18 years of age or older) will have their temperature taken and will be re-screened for new onset of any one of the following symptoms or exposures:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Congestion
  4. Sore Throat
  5. Runny Nose
  6. Shortness of Breath
  7. Muscle Aches
  8. Decrease in sense of smell or taste
  9. Anorexia
  10. Chills or shaking chills
  11. Headache
  12. Diarrhea, nausea, or other GI symptoms
  13. Personal diagnosis of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  14. Contact with a person quarantined or confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days

If the visitor has a temperature of 100 degrees F or greater OR responds yes to ANY one of the symptoms or exposures, they will not be allowed to enter the hospital. The visitor will be asked to wear a standard mask and instructed to wear the mask, covering their nose and mouth.

Extenuating Circumstances:

If an extenuating circumstance is identified (defined as a terminal condition and very close to the end of life), an exception to the inpatient visitor policy may be made with the consultation with the unit’s nursing staff and the physician. The visitor will undergo the same symptom and temperature screening outlined for all visitors, but will not be asked the personal exposure or contact exposure questions. Safety remains a priority.

  • One visitor would be allowed to visit for 20 minutes.
    • All other visitors will be directed to communicate with via I-Pad/text, etc. and must wait outside of the hospital.
    • Clergy that visit under these circumstances are included in the one visitor limit and must also follow the visitor process.
  • The visit would need to be approved and coordinated by the attending physician, primary nurse, and clinical nurse manager or nurse consultant.
  • A staff member will work with the nursing consultant to arrange and coordinate the visitor process and the actual visit. This staff member will also provide the visitor an overview of the Visitor Process outlined below.
  • Managing the Visit (COVID and non-COVID)
    • Once the visitor arrives, the entrance screener will call the unit so the staff member can meet the visitor and complete the screening.
    • The visitor and staff member arranging the visit arrive on the unit.
    • All visits will be limited to 20 minutes. Staff will issue a 5-minute notice at 15 minutes into the visit.
    • For non-COVID-19 patient visits: the visitor will wear only the mask provided at the entrance.
      • Staff will observe visitor removing their mask and supervise hand hygiene upon departure.
    • For COVID-19 Positive or Person Under Investigation (PUI) patient visits: in addition to the mask provided at the entrance, the visitor must wear a gown, gloves, and eye protection (provided by the unit) to enter the patient room.
      • For visits to Glenbrook Hospital ICU, ED ICU or GAU: The visitor must WAIT OUTSIDE the unit until a staff member is able to assist the visitor in donning appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
      • Staff will continuously observe the visitor throughout the visit to prevent any unprotected contact and reduce the risk of transmission.
      • Staff will observe the visitor removing their PPE and supervise hand hygiene on departure.
    • Staff will arrange for an escort to accompany the visitor back to the hospital entrance.
    • Law Enforcement seeking entry to the hospital related to a legal issue with a patient must liaise with Public Safety and have a negative screen result.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding:

We understand these visitation restrictions may be difficult. We regret any hardship or inconvenience this may cause while you are admitted to the hospital, but your safety and the safety of our staff is our top priority. Thank you for making NorthShore your trusted partner health partner.