Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Visitor Policy

The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center visitor policy has been updated.
Effective Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

This policy applies to the following locations:

  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Heater Road (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics Lyme (Lyme, New Hampshire)
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center Outpatient Surgery Center (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
  • The Jack Byrne Center for Palliative and Hospice Care (Lebanon, New Hampshire)
  • Dartmouth Cancer Center St. Johnsbury (St. Johnsbury, Vermont)

For information about visitor policies at other Dartmouth Health facilities and locations, please review the guidelines for each location.


Our visitor policy is designed to keep us all safe—patients, families, other visitors, and our staff.

  • We closely watch the levels of COVID-19 in our area and revise the policy as needed to respond to those levels.
  • We know that friends, family, and loved ones are important in the healing process.
  • We aim to provide the best possible care and support for patients and staff in these uncertain times.

Read our visitor guidelines and rules for all visitors:

Patients with disabilities

If you have a disability and need a support person with you, we will provide reasonable accommodations in our hospital and clinics. We will do this in a way that follows disability rights laws and that protects the health and safety of patients, support persons, and our staff.

Access to interpreters

This Policy does not limit the use of medical interpreters. We will continue to follow our Interpreter Policy for patients with limited English, or who are blind, deaf, hard of hearing, or have other language challenges.


Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center visitor guidelines

Important: All visitors must pass entrance screening and wear a mask at all times.

The following policies apply to patients who do not have COVID-19. If you are visiting a patient who has COVID-19, please see "Visitors to patients with COVID-19."

Adult inpatient visitors

The following guidelines apply to adult inpatients who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 visitors may be present at the bedside at a time. These visitors may rotate.
  • Family members aged 2 to 18 years must be with an adult. Family members under the age of 2 years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leader.
  • Overnight stays may be allowed based on patient needs.

Pediatric (child) inpatient (including PICU) visitors

The following guidelines apply to pediatric inpatients (including those in the PICU) who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 parents/guardians/caregivers plus 2 extra visitors may be present at the bedside (up to 4 total). The 2 visitors may rotate. At least 1 parent/guardian/caregiver must be present with other visitors.
  • 1 parent/guardian/caregiver may spend the night. Another may stay at David’s house.
  • A brother or a sister aged 2 to 18 years may visit if they are with an adult. Children under the age of 2 years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leader.

Intensive care nursery visitors

The following guidelines apply to pediatric inpatients in the intensive care nursery (ICN) who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 parents/guardians/caregivers may be present at the bedside.
  • 1 visitor may be at the bedside with 1 parent/guardian/caregiver. The visitor may rotate. 2 people total may be at the bedside at any time.
  • A brother or a sister aged 2 to 18 years may visit if they are with an adult. Children under the age 2 of years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leadership.

Birthing Pavilion visitors

The following guidelines apply to patients in the Birthing Pavilion who do not have COVID-19:

  • 3 visitors may be present at the bedside at a time. These visitors may rotate.
  • 1 support person may spend the night before and after birth.
  • 3 adults may spend the night during labor (cannot rotate).
  • Brothers or sisters aged 2 to 18 years old may visit if they are with an adult. Children under the age of 2 years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leader.

Emergency Department visitors

The following guidelines apply to patients in the Emergency Department (ED) who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 people may be present at the bedside at a time. These people may rotate.
  • Family members aged 2 to 18 years may visit if they are with an adult. Children under the age of 2 years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leader.

Please note: There may be times when our ED waiting area becomes too crowded to remain safe. When this occurs, we may ask people escorting patients to wait in their car until the patient gets to their room or the ED becomes less crowded.

Inpatient psychiatry visitors

The following guidelines apply to psychiatry inpatients who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 visitors may be present between the hours of 4:00 and 8:00 pm. Patients are busy at other times with unit activities.
  • Family members aged 2 to 18 years may visit if they are with an adult. Children under the age of 2 years may not visit. To request an exception, talk with the unit leader.

Adult outpatient appointments and procedures

The following guideline applies to adult outpatient appointments and procedures for those who do not have COVID-19:

  • 1 person may go with an adult to an outpatient appointment or procedure.

Pediatric (child) outpatient appointments and procedures

The following guideline applies to pediatric outpatient appointments and procedures for those who do not have COVID-19:

  • 2 adults may attend the appointment or procedure.

End-of-life patient visitors

The following guideline applies to patients who are at risk of death within 24 hours by the doctor of record and  patients receiving “comfort care only”:

  • Patients who do not have COVID-19 may have 3 people visit at a time. The Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care may increase this limit at their discretion.

Visitors to patients with COVID-19

The following policies apply when you are visiting a patient who has COVID-19:

  • Adult inpatient and emergency department visitors: On a case by case basis, up to 2 designated visitors may be permitted for adult inpatients who are positive for COVID-19. Virtual visits are available and remain the safest option.
  • Pediatric (child) inpatient (including PICU) visitors: Up to 2 parents/guardians may be present at the bedside of pediatric patients during their inpatient admission.
  • Birthing Pavilion visitors: 1 designated partner or support person may be present at the bedside during the inpatient admission.
  • End-of-life patient visitors: This guideline applies to patients who are at risk of death within 24 hours by the doctor of record and patients receiving “comfort care only.” 3 visitors may be present at the bedside at a time, for a total of 6 visitors.

Rules for every visitor to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center locations

Every person who enters with a patient or visits a patient must:

  • Stop at the location entrance and complete screening for COVID-19.
  • Meet screening guidelines. This means you:
    • Do not have COVID-19 symptoms
    • Are not on quarantine due to travel or being around someone with COVID-19
    • Have not had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 10 days.
      If you have COVID-19 symptoms, have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or do not meet other guidelines, you may not enter the building.
  • Wear a hospital-issued mask given at the entrance. You must wear the mask at all times and keep your nose and mouth covered, even if you are vaccinated. This includes wearing the mask in a patient’s room.
  • Not eat or drink in patient rooms or in outpatient waiting areas.
  • Follow staff instructions if you are asked to wear other protection in addition to a face mask.

If you are not able to wear a mask, you must have a letter from a medical provider stating this. A face shield will be required.

Anyone who does not follow the rules above will be asked to leave.

Family meetings

We urge the use of phone or video visits for family meetings. If the meeting is in person, 2 family members or others chosen by the patient may attend.

If the patient is not able to make health care decisions, one person at a family meeting should likely be the patient’s health care agent, surrogate decision-maker, or legal guardian.

All persons at family meetings must follow the rules listed above.

Phone and video visits

Phone 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 adults who do not have a device or do not know how to connect, our Virtual Visit Coordinators can help. We have iPads patients can use on hospital units provided through our Family Connections program. Pediatric patients (kids) also get help from our staff to stay connected with their families.