Visiting Patients - Porter Medical Center
Skip to Main Content

Visiting Patients

Coronavirus (COVID-19) : UPDATED SEPTEMBER 16, 2020

Important Updates to the Porter Medical Center Restricted Visitation policy and procedures to minimize patients/staff exposure to COVID-19.

At Porter Medical Center we recognize that family members/support people are valued members of the health care team who play a key role in the healing process. Back in March, in response to the ongoing response to COVID-19 in our community, we made temporary changes to our Welcoming Policy. 

In an effort to balance the needs of patients and their families with the importance of staying safe, we have expanded access for visitors in many of our clinical areas and have re-opened the front visitor entrance to the hospital on a limited basis.  The front hospital entrance will be staffed with a screener from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  At all other times, all hospital patients and visitors will use the emergency department entrance.

For ALL Clinical Areas

  • Entrances into all Porter Medical Center buildings and clinics will be restricted.
  • Each person who enters will be screened for symptoms and their temperature will be taken. If a family member/support person screens positive or they are currently under quarantine, they will not be allowed to visit patients in the hospital or accompany patients to their outpatient appointment.
  • Persons reporting that they have been asked to quarantine by a health care provider or through state mandates will not be permitted to enter.
  • All staff, patients and families will be required to wear a mask over their mouth and nose at all times.
  • All support persons are expected to clean their hands upon entry/exit from the building, entry/exit from the unit or clinic and entry/exit from patient rooms.
  • All support persons are strongly encouraged to remain in the patient’s room for the duration of the visit and should limit time spent in the hallway.
  • Visitors will need to check-in at the nursing desk upon arrival to the floor.
  • Visitors are expected to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more in all common areas (waiting rooms, cafeteria and lobbies).
  • Any individual who does not comply with these institutional rules or institutional infection control policies will be asked to leave the institution.
  • Security will be called to respond to any family members/visitors who refuse to leave when asked or who present other safety concerns, including unwillingness to mask or comply with physical distancing requirements.
  • In all settings, patients who have a communication need (such as persons who are deaf or who do not understand/speak English), interpreters are welcomed as members of the care team. They are not visitors and their presence does not impact the patient’s ability to be supported by a family member.
  • Employees   continue to be restricted from visiting patients either on or off-duty unless they are identified as the approved family member/support person.
  • Only ADA service animals are permitted. All others animals, including previously approved therapy dogs/ support animals, are not allowed at this time.

Welcome Policy by Department

Inpatient and Surgical Services
Emergency Department, Express Care & Birthing Center
Ambulatory Clinics
Helen Porter

Inpatient and Surgical Services

  • Patients are permitted one support person. This should be the same person throughout the stay but an alternate support person is acceptable. Only one visitor is allowed at any given time.
  • Patients  in end of life care: no more than two family members at one time may be permitted in the patient room at the end of life.
  • Pediatric  patients: one consistent parent/support is strongly recommended, but both parents can be welcomed when necessary and appropriate.
  • Patient’s identified support person (and alternate when appropriate) should be documented.
  • For dual occupancy  rooms, consistent with our pre-COVID  welcoming policy, support person presence will depend on the space available, as well as the needs and preferences of both patients.
  • Curtains between patients  must be pulled.
  • Visits with support persons may need to be scheduled and time limited to assure room occupancy max is not exceeded.
  • Family/support persons may be asked to step outside the room when the care team is providing care. The care team will direct visitors to an appropriate waiting area and give an estimated time to return. Waiting in hallways will not be permitted.
  • Support persons will not be permitted for patients with suspicion of or testing positive for COVID-19. Exceptions will be made, in coordination with the care team, for end of life and pediatric patients. We will make every effort to support other means of patient contact and support, including the use of video technology as available.
  • Any exception to this policy will be granted after consensus of the provider and nurse leader of the unit. If the care team does not reach consensus, the Chief Medical Officer or the AOC (on evenings, nights and weekends) will make the final decision.
  • Each unit has check in instructions posted at the entry of the unit.
  • Visiting hours on the Medical Surgical Unit are from 11am-7pm, 7 days a week.

Emergency Department,  Express Care & Birthing Center

  • Patients  in the ED or Express Care and the Birthing Center will be permitted one consistent family member/support person. Rotation of family members/support persons is not allowed.

Ambulatory  Clinics

  • Family members/support persons are not permitted to accompany patients to outpatient visits unless the patient requires support and assistance to access their appointment.
  • One parent or support person may accompany pediatric patients
  • Patients who would benefit from other forms of support during a visit (such as a family member to listen, participate in the discussion, etc.) are encouraged to include support people via phone or other technology.

Helen Porter

  • Residents at Helen Porter may have one or two approved visitors without substitution or rotation.
  • All visits must be scheduled in advance by calling Helen Porter’s designated visitation line: 802-385-3661.
  • A member of the Helen Porter care team will confirm all visits with a return phone call. Leaving a message does not constitute a visitor appointment.
  • Visits are limited to designated outdoor spaces, will be limited to 30 minutes, and supervised by Helen Porter staff.