What is LVHN's hospital and outpatient visitation policy during COVID-19 outbreak?
LVHN has put into place a temporary hospital and outpatient visitation policy to help protect the health of our patients and health care providers. This policy replaces our traditional open visitation policy until further notice.
Hospital and Inpatient Visitation
The following visitation guidelines take effect May 20.
In our hospitals and inpatient facilities, visitors are allowed in these circumstances:
- Labor and delivery and postpartum areas: One partner/support person may stay the duration of the hospitalization.
- Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU): One set of parents or authorized representatives may visit.
- Hospitalized patients age 18 and younger: One set of parents or authorized representatives may visit.
- Patients with developmental disability, major neurocognitive disorder or dementia: One designated support person essential to patient care may visit.
- Non-COVID-19 medical surgical/low-level monitoring units: One healthy support person may visit daily for the duration of the hospitalization.
- Patients ready to be discharged from the hospital: One healthy support person may visit to assist as necessary.
- Emergency department: One healthy visitor may accompany a patient.
- Non-COVID-19 patients who are at end-of-life: Two healthy visitors may visit at a time.
- COVID-19 patients who are at end-of-life: Two healthy visitors my visit at a time.
Healthy visitors are allowed under these guidelines:
- Visitors will have their temperature taken and will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Visitors will be asked to provide a prior history of any COVID-19 diagnosis.
- Visitors will wear a face mask at all times. A mask will be provided to those who arrive without one.
- Visitors will be allowed in the patient room only and should not visit other areas in the hospital.
- No visitors under age 18 will be permitted except for visits to patients at the end of life.
- Visitors recovering from COVID-19 will be allowed if:
- Ten days have passed since they developed symptoms
- They have been fever-free without the use of antipyretic medications (used to reduce fever) for three days
- They have experienced an improvement in other symptoms
In our hospitals and inpatient facilities, visitors are not allowed in these areas:
- Non-COVID-19 intensive care units
- COVID-19 intensive care units
- COVID-19 medical surgical/low-level monitoring units
- Same-day surgery
- COVID-FREE hospitals
The visitation guidelines and restrictions will be reviewed weekly and will be updated based on the latest information and with the safety of our patients and colleagues in mind.
Family Birth and Newborn Centers Visitation
To keep you, your baby and our staff safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, LVHN has updated visitation guidelines for our Family Birth and Newborn Centers. We recognize that these temporary visitation restrictions may be deeply upsetting to some of our patients.
Be assured that we are making these decisions in your best interest so that we can ensure the safety of you, your baby and our staff. We will continue to update this policy based on the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other professional societies.
Triage – For the most appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including, masks, gowns and other coverings, no visitation will be permitted in the triage areas of our Family Birth and Newborn Centers. Unless the patient seems ready to deliver, any visitor will be asked to wait in their vehicle or leave the hospital campus and return when the patient is discharged.
If the patient is admitted for delivery, one support person will be welcome to join her.
Perinatal/Antepartum units – Visitation on perinatal units is not permitted, except under special circumstances that should be approved by unit leadership.
Labor and Delivery/Mother-Baby units – Visitation is still permitted on Labor and Delivery and Mother-Baby units with the following guidance:
- Health screenings will be performed for all patients and visitors before they enter the unit.
- All patients who present to these units will continue to receive appropriate medical and obstetrical care.
- Visitors who have a confirmed or presumed diagnosis of COVID-19 and have not met the criteria to stop home quarantine will not be allowed to visit the Family Birth and Newborn Centers. According to CDC, you can stop quarantining at home at least ten days from the start of your symptoms AND after at least 72 hours without fever, coughing or shortness of breath.
- If you have a COVID-19 test pending, have experienced high-risk exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 within the last 14 days, have symptoms suggesting COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath, or are under a 14-day home quarantine, you will not be permitted to visit Family Birth and Newborn Centers.
Note: Visitors from New York and New Jersey are permitted in Family Birth and Newborn Centers after completing a 14-day home quarantine as advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In addition, they must meet the same screening criteria required of all visitors.
We understand and value the importance and benefit of a support person during this crucial time, so we welcome one visitor or support person to be with you. To keep you, your baby and our staff safe, each visitor will be required to:
- Participate in daily monitoring during the hospital stay, including temperature and symptom assessment.
- Bring and wear their own mask. A clean, dry, freshly laundered cloth mask should be worn at all times during the hospital stay.
- Remain in the patient room for the entire hospital stay, except to visit newborns in the NICU. Meals can be provided to ensure you are comfortable during your stay.
- Remain at the hospital during the entire stay. If the visitor or support person chooses to leave the hospital they will not be allowed to return.
- If visitors are unable or unwilling to follow these guidelines, they will be asked to leave so that we can protect our patients, babies and staff. It’s important to note that another visitor will not be allowed to replace them.
Operating room – Visitors will not be permitted in the operating room in the event of a cesarean section due to the risk of viral exposure. The visitor or support person is welcome to remain just outside of the operating room where the baby will be received after delivery.
If the mother has COVID-19 or is suspected to have COVID-19, and is separated from the baby based on recommendations from the CDC, the visitor or support person cannot move between the mother’s isolation room and the baby’s isolation room or nursery. The visitor should become the newborn visitor and no longer the mother’s visitor. If the mother and baby are in the same room, the visitor may stay in the room but should primarily provide newborn care.
Mothers will also be required to wear masks, preferably their own brought from home, including freshly washed cloth masks. If they do not bring a mask, one will be provided to them.
Outpatient Appointment Information
For all outpatient appointments, one visitor is permitted to accompany a patient for an outpatient appointment, procedure, same-day surgery or LVPG office visit. We will make reasonable accommodations for pediatric visits, provided any sibling visitors are in good health.
Outpatient Visitation Policy for Oncology Patients Receiving Treatment
It is critical in this unprecedented time to keep you safe. Due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19, no visitors are permitted to accompany patients undergoing infusion or radiation oncology treatments except under these special circumstances:
- If the patient requires assistance getting to the registration area, someone may escort him or her. We will then take the patient back to receive treatment.
- If the patient has an extreme medical condition and/or cannot be left alone, a visitor may accompany him/her.
If you are a driver for a patient receiving treatment, we encourage you to either go home or wait in your car. Please make sure the person you drop off has your phone number. You will receive a call when the patient’s treatment is finished.
Updated Visitation Policy for Clergy
At this time, community clergy will only be permitted to visit patients who are nearing end of life and may visit only to offer communion or last rites.
Eucharistic ministers may not visit to offer communion.
Pastoral care services are available at each LVHN hospital to support and attend to patients’ diverse spiritual needs.
Hospital Visitor Screening
As part of our ongoing effort to ensure safety for patients, staff and our community during the COVID-19 outbreak, visitors at all LVHN hospital locations will be screened effective Friday, March 20.
When you visit any LVHN hospital location, staff will take your temperature at main entrances and at the emergency department using a forehead thermometer.
If you have a temperature higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you will be directed to postpone your visit. If you have a temperature lower than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, staff will ask you a series of questions to ensure you are not at risk of spreading COVID-19.
If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone who has it, you should take any of these steps to be screened:
The on-site screenings follow the “No Visitation, No Access Policy” we put in place March 15, which is still in effect to help protect the health of our patients and health care providers.
Updated Surgery Waiting Room Policy.
In all LVHN surgery waiting rooms, only one visitor is permitted per patient. Visitors are being seated at least six feet away from one another. Visitors are encouraged to use the EASE app, which sends real-time updates to loved ones. Visitors who drive patient for surgery are asked if they are willing to leave their phone number and go to another location so they can be called when the patient is ready for discharge.
Our hospital campus locations
Find helpful information specific to each hospital regarding parking, dining options and more.
Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)–Cedar Crest in Allentown
LVH–17th Street in Allentown
LVH–Muhlenberg in Bethlehem
LVH–Hazleton in Hazleton
LVH–Pocono in East Stroudsburg
LVH–Schuylkill E. Norwegian Street and LVH–Schuylkill S. Jackson Street, both in Pottsville.
As neighbors and members of your communities, we are here to care for you and your family throughout life.
Each hospital has its own information page on LVHN.org (links are listed above). We invite you to visit the hospital information page for specific local information, including:
- Hospital address and contact information
- Parking and valet details
- Visitation information
- Dining options
- Descriptions of programs and services
- How to send a card or flowers
- Locations of our chapel and meditation areas
We are here for you
If you have additional questions or have a special request during your visit, please speak with any LVHN employee. We are here to help you.