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Visitor Policy

General Guidelines | Non-COVID Inpatient Admissions | Non-COVID Emergency Department (ED) Patients | Non-COVID Patient Surgical and Interventional Procedures | Non-COVID Outpatient Services | Non-COVID Practice-Based Offices—Medical Group | Non-COVID Pediatric Inpatients | Labor & Delivery/ISCU/Post-Partum Patients | Infant Special Care Unit | Adolescent Psychiatric Care | Visitor Screening Process | Extenuating Circumstances

NorthShore is committed 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 our hospital or at one of our other care facilities.

Effective June 9, 2021, we are modifying our visitor policy based on significant reductions in our community COVID positivity rate and COVID inpatient occupancy (or census).

Determination of our visitor policy will be reviewed regularly, and is subject to change if there is a sudden increase in positivity rate or COVID census.

General Guidelines for All Visitors

Visitor Screening
All visitors must undergo and pass our Visitor Screening upon entry, including:

  1. No active COVID infection.
  2. No exposure to COVID in the last 14 days.
  3. Meet CDC Travel Guidelines.
  4. If a visitor fails the screening, they will be asked to leave the hospital.  

Visitor Requirements

  1. Visitors must be at least 18 years old and pass our Visitor Screening.  
  2. Visitors must follow all safety preventive measures across all our care sites:
    • Wear a mask at all times and in all areas.  
    • Ensure the mask covers both nose and mouth.
    • Maintain proper physical distance of at least six feet or more.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
    • Limit visit to patient room or waiting area and not the entire hospital or care site.  

Non-COVID Inpatient Admissions

  1. Two screened visitors (18 or older) per day from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
  2. Kindly limit your visit to the patient’s room as much as possible.
  3. Once visitors pass their screening, they will be directed to the appropriate nursing station to check-in and sign a log indicating arrival time.
    • We also encourage patients to keep in contact with family members and friends virtually (phone, FaceTime, or other phone-based video communication), and/or text.
  4. The same visitor rules apply to the ICU and inpatient floor units.
  5. Clergy are not included in the visitor count but must follow all visitor requirements.
  6. Visiting hours are 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Special circumstances are managed in consultation with the patient’s clinical team. A family member is provided a phone number and security code to speak with the team.
  7. Exceptions to the visitor guidelines may be made under Extenuating Circumstances in consultation with the patient’s clinical team.
  8. All waiting areas are configured to account for proper physical distancing of at least six feet between individuals. If this is not possible, then our staff will direct visitors to wait elsewhere temporarily.
  9. Regarding patient discharge: the patient’s clinical team will notify the visitor as to the impending date/time of discharge. Up to two visitors who have passed our Visitor Screening will be allowed to enter the patient’s room to hear discharge instructions and assist in the departure from the hospital.

Non-COVID Emergency Department (ED) Patients

  1. Patients who come to our ED are allowed up to two screened visitors (see Visitor Screening) to accompany them to the ED treatment area. The visitor must be at least 18 years old; and must at all times remain with the patient, wear a mask and follow all safety measures. For everyone’s safety, no visitors are allowed to stay in the ED waiting room.
  2. Up to two screened visitors are allowed to accompany them to the inpatient unit, with the exception of minors, for a limited amount of time once the patient is admitted.
  3. Minors who are admitted to the hospital may have up to two screened parents or guardians accompany them to the inpatient unit.

Non-COVID Patient Surgical and Interventional Procedures

  1. Each patient is allowed up to two screened visitors (one of whom serves as a caregiver) to accompany them during the pre-procedure process.

Visitors must wear a mask at all times and follow all safety precautions. Those who fail the screening will be asked to wait outside/in their vehicle.

  1. Visitors are allowed to wait in the waiting area if difficult for them to return to their car.
  2. Up to two screened visitors will be able to rejoin the patient in Phase 2 recovery. Staff will provide direction. 
  3. Regarding patient discharge—the patient’s clinical team will notify the visitor as to the impending date/time of discharge. Up to two visitors who have passed our Visitor Screeningwill be allowed to enter the patient’s room to hear discharge instructions and assist in the departure from the hospital.
  4. Exceptions to the visitor guidelines may be made under Extenuating Circumstances in consultation with the patient’s clinical team.

Non-COVID Outpatient Services

  1. We encourage patients to come alone to their appointment (e.g., Mammogram, MRI, X-ray, blood draw, or other outpatient procedures) whenever possible; otherwise, each patient is allowed two screened visitors.
  2. Visitors who fail the screening will not be allowed to accompany the patient and will be asked to wait outside/in their vehicle until staff notifies them that the outpatient procedure is completed.
  3. If the situation involves a minor, our staff will contact the minor’s doctor to determine next steps.
  4. Exceptions to the visitor guidelines may be made under Extenuating Circumstances in consultation with the patient’s clinical team.

Non-COVID Practice-Based Offices—Medical Group

  1. We encourage patients to come alone to their appointment, whenever possible; otherwise, each patient is allowed two screened visitors age 18 and up (see Visitor Screening).
  2. Patients should refer to NorthShoreConnect or their automated reminder calls for specific directions:
    1. Visitors are permitted to wait in the practice waiting area, as long as physical distancing measures can be met.
    2. If not, staff may ask visitors to wait in their vehicles or outside of the practice waiting areas.
    3. Visitors are required to wear mask at all times and follow all safety precautions.
  3. During the visit, visitors may be asked to relocate to comply with physical distancing.
  4. We require all visitors to wear a mask and physically distance in the waiting rooms. In our physician offices, please arrange with the front desk if you prefer to wait in your vehicle.
    • For most appointments, NorthShoreConnect patients can eCheck-in 48 hours prior to their appointment.
    • If they have the NorthShoreConnect Mobile App on their smartphone and the “Appointment Arrival” notification turned on, we will know when they have arrived.
    • This technology promotes a contactless check-in and arrival experience and/or greatly reduces the time needed at the front desk of the office.

Rules for parents or guardians of minor age children (under age 18).

  1. The parent or legal guardian of a minor must pass our Visitor Screening before entering the doctor’s office.
  2. If they pass the screening, they must wear a mask at all times.
  3. If they fail the screening, our staff will contact the child’s doctor to determine next steps.

Exceptions to the visitor guidelines may be made under Extenuating Circumstances in consultation with the patient’s clinical team.

Non-COVID Pediatric Inpatients

Up to two screened parents or guardians are allowed to visit and remain with the child.

Labor & Delivery/ISCU/Post-Partum Patients

  1. Two visitors who pass 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.
  2. A doula may visit in addition to the two visitors. The doula must remain in the hospital only for the duration of the patient’s stay in Labor & Delivery. Once the mother enters post-partum phase of care (2-4 hours after delivery), the doula must leave the hospital and may not return. The doula may stay for up to four hours total.
  3. Doulas are not permitted in the operating room but may rejoin the patient in Labor & Delivery to assist with breastfeeding after a C-section.
  4. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with the patient’s clinical team.

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).

Adolescent Psychiatric Care

Only the parent or guardian 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 patient’s clinical team.

Visitor Screening Process

All visitors must meet IDPH Travel-Related Guidance mandates.

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. Chills or shaking chills
  10. Headache
  11. Diarrhea, nausea, or other GI symptoms
  12. Personal diagnosis of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  13. 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 is required to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times. They must also comply with all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and physical distancing requirements. 

Extenuating Circumstances:

If an extenuating circumstance is identified (defined as an imminent surgery/procedure, terminal condition, significant change in status or condition, prolonged hospitalization of a week or greater, and very close to the end of life), an exception to the inpatient visitor policy may be made in consultation with the patient’s nursing and physician clinical team. The visitor will undergo the same symptom and temperature screening outlined for all visitors. Safety remains a priority.

  • Two visitors would be allowed to visit the patient at the same time with length of visit to be determined by the care team.
    • 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 separate of the two visitor limit but must follow the visitor screening 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.
    • Length of visits will be determined by the care team.
    • 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, GAU or 4-North/South: 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 in our care, but your safety and the safety of our visitors and staff remain our top priority. Thank you for making NorthShore your trusted health partner.