Visiting a Patient

woman visiting man in hospital

As part of our focus on patient- and family-centered care, we have taken the word “visitor” out of our vocabulary and replaced it with “families and guests.” 
Under our “Family Presence Policy” we encourage patients to identify their “Partners in Care” upon admission and will help them in doing so. It also puts patients in control by allowing them to decide when their families and guests may be present. Taking the safety of patients and staff into consideration, we also have set in place a secure and easy-to-follow process for identifying after-hours guests.

With the help of our Care Advisory Team, comprised of previous patients and family members, several opportunities have been identified that now make it easier for families to have access to the hospital after hours and to their loved ones around the clock.

    • During admission, patients are asked to define their “family” and other “partners in care” and how they will be involved in care and decision-making. The hospital honors patients’ choices in their selection.
    • Partners in care receive a blue wristband identifying them as a key person in their loved one’s care. As such, they are given flexibility throughout hospitalization to stay overnight without any additional steps needed.
    • During a hospital stay or an emergency room visit, families and other partners in care are encouraged to be present and participate in care, care planning and decision-making, according to patient-identified preferences.
    • This policy covers adult inpatient units at UofL Hospital, with the exclusion of the UofL Brown Cancer Center and Behavioral Health.
    • Guests: Anyone whom the patient determines has significance to their well-being and whose presence would enhance their hospitalization.
    • Partners in care: Those individuals the patient deems as integral in the process of caring and recovery from illness (Note: Partners in care may not be authorized by law to sign medical consent for procedures – see Informed Consent Policy 600-140).
    • Family: Persons identified by the patient as “a group of individuals with a continuing legal, genetic and/or emotional relationship” (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2009).
    1. Families and other partners in care are welcome 24 hours a day, according to patient preference.
    2. At the beginning of the hospital stay, patients are asked to define “family” and “partners in care”; this information is then documented in the patient’s record.
    3. The number of people welcomed at the bedside at any one time will be determined in collaboration with caregivers, patient and family without compromising safe delivery of care.
    4. Children supervised by an adult are welcomed and are expected to remain with the supervising adult. Children’s behavior is monitored by the responsible adult and the nursing staff to ensure a safe and restful environment for the patient(s).
    5. All partners in care and any guest of the patient must adhere to the hospital’s infection control policies, which include: absence of any communicable disease, avoiding food storage in patient rooms or waiting room and adherence to isolation policies.
    6. Guests may be restricted to reduce any risks to the patient, including disruptive behavior and unsafe practices.
      • At 9 p.m. each evening, an overhead announcement is made stating that we will be “securing the hospital for the evening.”
      • Anyone other than an identified partner in care who plans on staying the night with a patient will need to go to the unit nurses’ station for an overnight badge.
      • At 9:30 p.m., the main lobby doors are secured. All late-night guests will need to enter through the pedway, where Security is located, or through the Emergency Department.