Visiting a Patient

Visitor Guidelines During COVID-19 Pandemic

Beth Israel Lahey Health has taken a number of steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in order to keep our patients and staff safe. Additional information on COVID-19 can be found here.

Visitor Guidelines

We understand the importance of being able to visit a patient while they are in the hospital; however, we have put temporary visitor restrictions in place to help protect everyone from COVID-19.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors in a less restricted way as soon as we can. If you're looking to reschedule an appointment or make a telehealth appointment, please contact your provider for more information.

BIDMC visitor policies can be found below.

Inpatient Units
  • Two visitors at a time are permitted per patient who is not confirmed or suspected COVID-19 positive.
    • Visiting hours are noon - 7:00 pm. Visitors should arrive no later than 6:45 pm.
  • All visitors and patients must be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure. Those who do not pass the screening may not visit. Those who pass the screening receive a visitor badge, which must be worn throughout the visit.
  • Children under the age of 12 may not visit unless they are visiting a parent or sibling.
  • Note that the isolation period after COVID-19 infection is 10 days in hospitals and other care settings.
  • Visitors will be given a BIDMC-provided surgical mask, which must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times. Cloth masks may not be worn.
  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask, even if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Visitors must remain in patient room during visits and are not permitted in cafeterias.
Ambulatory and Procedural Areas
  • Each patient may have up to two escorts.
  • Escorts must remain with the patient except when the patient has gone into their surgery or procedure.
  • All visitors must wear a BILH-provided surgical mask, fully covering the nose and mouth, at all times while in the hospital regardless of vaccination status.
If you're coming in for surgery
  • Patients having surgery may have up to two escorts accompany them on the day of surgery.
  • Escorts may wait with the patient in designated waiting areas. No eating or drinking is allowed in these areas.
  • If you're admitted after surgery, regular hospital visiting guidance applies.

Emergency Department
  • Patients who have or may have COVID-19 may not have visitors.
  • Patients who are screened as being at risk for COVID-19 are not allowed a visitor until they have had a primary evaluation by the physician, which may take up to an hour.
  • Each patient may have one visitor/escort. This person may leave and come back and is the only visitor allowed.
  • Children under the age of 12 may not visit unless they are visiting a parent or sibling.
Labor and Delivery and Obstetric Inpatient Units

Please note that “support persons” may be with the patient at any time. “Visitors” are subject to hospital visiting policies and hours.

  • Labor and Delivery: Two support persons (one if the patient is positive for COVID-19)
  • Post-Partum and Antepartum: One support person; they may have additional visitors, according to regular hospital visiting policy.
    • Pregnant patients’ healthy children, or siblings of newborns, may visit but may not stay overnight.
  • Two people, including parents or a parent and a visitor, can visit at any time through the day.
  • Two people can be at each bed space

*Exceptions: Designated support persons for patients with intellectual and/or physical disabilities may include, but shall not be limited to: an essential escort, a guardian or other legally authorized decision-maker, family member, caregiver, personal care assistant or another disability service provider knowledgeable about the patient's care. Designated support persons are not considered visitors.

*In rare circumstances, such as when a patient is at the end of life, limited exceptions to visitor restrictions may be approved by the care team.

Please note: Individuals meeting these exceptions will be screened and must wear masks while onsite at our facilities.

Thank you. We look forward to welcoming visitors in a less restricted way as soon as it is safe to do so.

About Virtual Visits

  • We encourage and can help facilitate virtual visits via cellphone or tablet.
  • Patients should remember to charge their mobile device. Our staff can help if needed.
  • If the patient does not have a cellphone or tablet, most units have devices that can be borrowed for a virtual visit.