Dartmouth-Hitchcock has returned to a limited visitation policy.
Effective Friday, December 17, 2021.
This policy applies to the following Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) locations::
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heater Road (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Lyme (Lyme, New Hampshire)
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Outpatient Surgery Center (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
- The Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
- Norris Cotton Cancer Center North (St. Johnsbury, Vermont)
For information about visitor policies at other Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health facilities and locations, please review the guidelines for each location.
The most important goal of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s visitor policy is to keep our patients and the health care workers caring for them safe. We pledge to continue closely evaluating the levels of COVID-19 in our community and will assess and revise this policy as the pandemic circumstances continue to evolve. We recognize that loved ones play an important role in the healing process, and the change in our visitor policy has been made to be sure we provide the best possible care while also keeping our patients and staff safe and healthy during these unprecedented circumstances.
Because of the high levels of community transmission and the record high cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and Vermont, visitors will no longer be permitted during inpatient admissions (meaning for patients staying in the hospital overnight) or for outpatient visits at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Exceptions are made for end-of-life patients, pediatric patients, and Birthing Pavilion and outpatient prenatal care patients, as described below.
- See a summary of D-H Lebanon visitor guidelines.
- Read the complete visitor requirements and policy for D-H Lebanon.
Patients with disabilities
Dartmouth-Hitchcock will work to ensure a reasonable accommodation for each patient with a disability so that they have reasonable access to support personnel (known as a “support person”) in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, in a manner that is consistent with disability rights laws and the health and safety of patients, our health care providers, and support persons.
For example, patients with disabilities such as intellectual or cognitive disabilities or significant physical disabilities may require the presence of a family member, personal care assistant, or similar service provider who is knowledgeable about and understands the needs of the patient and is able to assist with communication and comprehension and/or who is able to assist the patient physically or emotionally during the patient’s hospitalization or appointment.
Access to interpreters
This change in policy does not restrict patient access to interpreters. We are committed to ensuring that patients who have limited English language proficiency or are blind, deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise communication disabled will continue to have access to interpreters.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Lebanon visitor guidelines visual summary
Adult (not including Birthing Pavilion and end-of-life patients) and pediatric inpatients
Adults inpatients: No visitors are permitted at this time, except in the following circumstance:
- For patients with a disability, generally, 1 adult support person is allowed per day. To the extent possible, the individual serving as the support person should be the same person throughout the patient’s admission.
Pediatric inpatients: 2 individuals (parents, guardians) per day are allowed. To the extent possible, these individuals should be the same people throughout the pediatric patient’s admission.
All permitted visitors must check in and out when entering and exiting our facility (please see further detail below).
Adult outpatient appointments
No individuals are permitted to accompany adult patients to outpatient appointments at this time, except in the following circumstances:
- For patients with a disability, generally, 1 adult support person is permitted to accompany the patient.
- Outpatients coming to prenatal appointments or prenatal ultrasounds may bring 1 adult with them. We encourage those who are able to attend outpatient prenatal appointments without someone to do so.
Birthing Pavilion patients
1 adult is permitted to stay with the patient during the patient’s inpatient stay.
Pediatric outpatient appointments and procedures
2 adults (parents or guardians) may accompany the patient for appointments and procedures.
The care team will work with the family/authorized representative of the patient to plan for visitors. Generally, no more than 3 visitors at a time are permitted to visit the patient, for COVID-19 negative patients, and no more than 2 visitors at a time are permitted for COVID-19 positive patients.
Permitted visitors are required to check in and out.
“Patients at the end of life” are defined as patients who are at risk of imminent death (generally within 24 hours), as determined by the attending physician of record; patients receiving “comfort measures only” care; and all patients at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care.
Complete visitor requirements and policy for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Lebanon locations
Because of the high levels of community transmission and the record high cases of COVID-19 in New Hampshire and Vermont, visitors will no longer be permitted during inpatient admissions (meaning for patients staying in the hospital overnight) or for outpatient visits at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Exceptions are made for end-of-life patients, pediatric patients, and Birthing Pavilion and outpatient prenatal care patients, as described above.
Anyone granted an exception to enter as a visitor or support person must:
- Pass the Dartmouth-Hitchcock COVID-19 screening process, which includes not having symptoms of COVID-19, being on quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 or travel, or having a diagnosis of COVID-19 in the past 10 days
- Follow all Dartmouth-Hitchcock visitor policies and procedures, including those relating to use of personal protective equipment (PPE) as detailed below
Anyone accompanying a patient to an outpatient appointment or permitted to visit an inpatient (described above, such as obstetric patients, pediatric patients, and patients with a disability requiring a support person) must follow these requirements. If they are not followed you will be asked to leave.
- They must stop at facility entrances and complete the COVID-19 screening.
- They must don a medical mask (hospital-issued) provided at the entrance to enter a D-H facility. They must properly wear this mask (even if fully vaccinated) during the entire time they are in our facility. There are no exceptions and a mask must be worn even when visiting in a patient’s room. If you are an Inpatient Visitor you must put on all required PPE following the instructions of the care team
- No eating or drinking in a patient’s room or in an outpatient waiting room is allowed.
- No one unable to wear a mask is allowed to be present, unless a letter from a medical provider is provided stating that the individual cannot wear a mask, in which case the individual will be required to wear a face shield providing it is considered to be sufficiently protective.
- No inpatient visitors under the age of 12 are permitted except for patients receiving end of life (EOL) care.
- All guests permitted to visit inpatients and permitted support persons for inpatients must check-in and out at the information desk (if arriving between the hours of 5:30 am and 8:00 pm) at the Main Entrance at D-H, or at the entrance to the Jack Byrne Center. When checking in, the guest must provide their name and cell number, along with the name and room number of the patient they will be visiting. A nametag for entrance to the patient’s room will be provided and must be worn at all times.
- If an exception for visiting has been allowed between the hours of 8:00 pm and 5:30 am, visitors will need to follow the check-in and check-out process at the Emergency Room Entrance as our main Medical Center entrance is closed between 8:00 pm and 5:30 am.
- If you are accompanying a patient to a D-H facility for an outpatient appointment and you are not permitted to enter the building, we will direct you to the parking areas where you will need to wait until you are called by the patient you have come with.
- Anyone who is symptomatic, or who has had a known COVID-19 exposure in the past 10 days, or who otherwise does not pass the screening process may not enter the building.
We highly encourage the use of video or telephone visits for family meetings. However, when the provider determines that a family meeting is best held as an in-person meeting, 2 family members or other individuals (as designated by the patient) may attend. When the patient lacks capacity to make health care decisions, one of the representatives at an on-site family meeting will generally include the patient’s health care agent, surrogate decision maker, or legal guardian, as applicable. Attendees will still be required to follow all the on-site visitor requirements that are described above.
Telephone and video visits
Telephone and video visits are strongly encouraged for all patients during this time. Please reference our Virtual Visits with Friends and Family in the Hospital (PDF) to connect with loved ones using a personal device. For adult patients that may not have a device or need help connecting through their device, our virtual visit coordinators can help. Pediatric patients also receive help from our staff to stay connected with their family.