Visitor policy

September 26, 2022

Swedish facility entrance door

[6 MIN READ]

As COVID-19 continues to be a concern in the Puget Sound, Swedish remains committed to the safety of our patients and community members. In response, we have updated our Puget Sound policy to follow data-driven visitation policies based on community transmission levels. We will continue to adjust guidelines to best align with the evolving climate of COVID-19.

Safety and high-quality care for our patients are our highest priorities. We require universal masking, hand hygiene, physical distancing and screening protocols for all persons entering our facilities. COVID-19 vaccination is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all visitors entering this facility.

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, at 8:00 a.m., our updated Puget Sound visitor policy will go into effect as we move to self-screening at our entry doors:

  • Swedish visitation will allow for each patient to have two (2) patient supporters per day during their hospitalization. Exceptions apply and require discussion with nursing caregivers for pediatrics, antepartum, labor and delivery and postpartum, behavioral health, hospice inpatient care, and outpatient care.  
  • Patient supporters are not allowed to wait inside (e.g., congregate in lobby). Exceptions apply for surgical/procedural patients and their patient supporters. 
  • COVID-19 vaccination status for visitors and/or support individuals does not change exception criteria. Visitor restrictions will be followed regardless of vaccine status. 
  • Patient supporters are permitted, provided they pass self-entry control screening (negative symptoms, no recent exposure, appropriate masking) and abide by the guidelines for patient supporters. 

 In addition: 

  • End-of-life circumstances will be considered on a case-by-case basis for three (3) patient supporters at a time and must be highly coordinated with direct care nurse and campus leadership. 
  • Patient supporters for persons diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID-19 are not allowed unless approved on a limited case-by-case basis. (Refer to COVID-19-specific guidelines below). 

Information for patient supporters:

  • A patient supporter is someone who accompanies a patient to aid in their recovery and healing. This may be a friend or relative. Patient supporters should be aware that any close contact could spread COVID-19 to your loved one, even before you feel sick. Please do not hug, kiss, or share food or drink with your loved one as this could be very dangerous and even deadly to the person you are here to support. 
  • Patient supporters are not permitted for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Visitation for one patient supporter will only be approved on a case-by-case basis by the direct care nurse, nurse manager or senior campus administrator. 
  • Our emergency departments and women’s and children’s, SMC clinics, imaging, radiology, lab, surgical services, and SMG/ambulatory areas have set specific restrictions for limiting patient supporters and patient supporters may not always be allowed. Your care team can provide more detailed information about guidelines for patient supporters for each of these areas. 

Essential patient supporter exceptions:

Patients are allowed to have an essential support person accompany/visit them if the patient meets any of the following criteria (exceptions can vary based on location/campus): 

  • Under the age of 18 
  • Altered mental status or developmental delay 
  • Dementia 
  • Disabilities requiring assistance with ambulation/communication/etc. 
  • Language barriers without the ability to access an interpreter 
  • Hearing or vision impairment 
  • Requirement for a 24-hour caregiver 
  • Clergy/legal representatives. Community clergies and legal representatives are considered essential personnel/caregivers and are not visitors. 
  • Debilitating anxiety or psychosocial trauma 
  • Antepartum and postpartum mothers with stays may have visits from their other children on a case-by-case basis determined by nursing leadership. 
  • Siblings needed for patient bonding, e.g., in pediatrics or neonatal intensive care 
  • Ambulatory locations  
  • Pregnant patients having an ultrasound or an urgent/emergent related appointment.  The support person must be 18 years of age or older unless the chosen support person is the other parent of the baby.
  • Pediatric patients may have two (2) support persons (advocate, parent, guardian).  
  • Siblings of pediatric patients remain restricted unless they have an appointment.  If parents have limited resources/options for care of siblings, they may work with the provider/clinic to determine if an exception may be granted. 

Guidelines for patient supporters:

  • COVID-19 vaccination is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED for all patient supporters entering this facility. Note that COVID-19 vaccination status does not change exception criteria.
  • All Swedish ICU/IMCU will only accept patient supporters by appointment.
  • Be at least 18 years of age. (No underage siblings, unless they fall within essential patient supporter exceptions.)
  • Get screened for COVID-19, be free of any fever or COVID-19 symptoms within the last 24 hours and have no known exposures to COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • Wear an isolation mask and always follow physical distancing protocols while in the facility. Wearing personal masks is encouraged, however, N95 masks with a valve, scarves, bandanas, and neck gaiters are not permitted. Anyone wearing prohibited masks will be asked to remove them and replace with a provided medical mask. Medical masks will be provided if personal masks are unavailable. For supporters unable to wear a face mask, face shields will be provided and required to be worn in place of a mask. Designated patient supporters who are not compliant with masking may be asked to leave the facility at any time.
  • Practice hand hygiene with provided hand sanitizer. Anyone wearing medical gloves at entries must remove the gloves, keep them off while inside the facility, and practice hand hygiene.
  • Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet, from patients, caregivers, and other visitors. When in small spaces or where there is increased occupancy for a short period of time and 6-foot spacing cannot be maintained between individuals (e.g., in an elevator), all individuals must be masked.
  • Although discouraged, food and drink are permitted to be brought inside patient rooms, but should be limited during high/substantial transmission periods. Patient supporters may eat in patient rooms if they are staying for longer periods of time. If patient supporters are eating in the room, they must stop and mask whenever a caregiver enters the room and should be physically distanced from the patient. Patient supporters should wear a mask at all other times and practice hand hygiene before and after eating. Patient supporters may order food from nutrition services to be sent to patient rooms. Regardless of transmission levels, patient supporters cannot eat or drink if patients are in double occupancy rooms. 
  • Upon entry, go directly to-and-from the patient’s location and do not wait in lounge areas or hallways. If necessary, and at the unit’s discretion, a patient supporter may leave and return on the same day for additional visits.  
  • Use designated public restrooms in the unit. Do not use patient restrooms.
  • Leave and exit the premises at the request of the direct care nurse or nurse manager.
  • Only visit during campus visiting hours.
  • Overnight stays are restricted and only permitted if coordinated with direct care nurse or nurse manager. Shared patient rooms are excluded.
  • Designated supporters of patients undergoing aerosol-generating procedures may be asked to leave or wear additional personal protective equipment during the procedure.

Entry point screening requirements:

Everyone is required to follow universal masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing. All who enter the facility must follow the screening process, which is subject to change. All are required to attest that they are free of COVID-19 symptoms in the last 24 hours and have no known recent exposure to COVID-19 in the last 10 days and have not tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days. (Symptoms are subject to change.)

COVID-19 symptoms (subject to change) include:

  • Fever over 100°  degrees F 
  • Chills   
  • New cough   
  • Sore throat   
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing  
  • Muscle or body aches (myalgias)  
  • Fatigue/feeling ill/malaise  
  • New loss of smell or taste  
  • New or unusual congestion/runny nose  
  • Nausea/diarrhea/vomiting  
  • New or unusual headache  

The health and safety of our patients and caregivers are our top priorities. These restrictions will be in place until COVID-19 transmission is no longer a threat to our community, or until guidance from public health authorities changes.

Find a doctor

If you have questions about the visitor’s policy, contact Swedish Patient and Visitor Information. We can accommodate both in-person and virtual visits.
 
Whether you require an in-person visit or want to consult a doctor virtually, you have options. Swedish Virtual Care connects you face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your symptoms, provide instruction and follow up as needed. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory.
  
Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.
 
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.


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