Visitors to D-HH Facilities
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health is limiting the number of visitors to inpatients in our facilities. This is intended to assure the safety of our patients and the providers and staff caring for them.
This policy will continue to evolve based on the most up-to-date information and guidance from federal and state authorities, and revisions will be made with the goal of limiting the spread of COVID-19, flattening the curve, and assuring a healthy workforce who can care for current and future patients.
This information was last updated on August 13, 2020.
Visiting hours for inpatients at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon are from 8 am - 8 pm, 7 days a week. Overnight visitors are not allowed for adult inpatients, with a few exceptions: for patients in the Birthing Pavilion, and for patients receiving end of life care. Pediatric patients are allowed 2 adults to remain with them at all times.
Important parking update: Beginning on Friday, July 17, the DHMC North Entrance (the Patient Towers) and adjacent visitor parking lots will close, as construction begins on our new Patient Pavilion inpatient addition. Visitors to DHMC inpatient units should enter the hospital through the Main Entrance. For specific information on parking and entry, see the D-H Upgrade page.
For information on visiting hours at other D-HH hospitals, contact each facility directly:
- Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, Lebanon
- Cheshire Medical Center, Keene
- Mt. Ascutney Hospital and Health Center, Windsor, VT
- New London Hospital
Please note that ALL persons entering D-HH buildings are REQUIRED to wear a mask at ALL TIMES while inside.
Patients and their required caregivers are allowed to wear a cloth mask of their own. If you need one, we will provide a freshly cleaned cloth mask upon entry.
Any patients exhibiting symptoms who are seeking care will be provided a medical face mask for their clinical visit.
If you refuse to wear a mask you will be asked to leave our facility.
Thank you for helping us keep the health and safety of our staff and you, our patients, as our top priority during this public health crisis.
We remain committed to the health of our communities.
Definition of caregiver vs. inpatient visitor
"Caregiver" refers to family members, friends, or other support person whose presence is required for physical or cognitive support associated with the patient's health care.
"Inpatient Visitors" refer to those who wish to access a D-HH facility, but are not directly involved in the care of a patient as outlined above, but may wish to socialize with an inpatient. Inpatients in D-HH hospitals may now have one inpatient visitor per day.
Check-in process for inpatient visitors
- Visitors to inpatients at D-HH hospitals must check in at the hospital entrance, where they will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Those exhibiting symptoms will be turned away.
- After screening, inpatient visitors will check in with the hospital information or reception desk.
- Reception desk staff will confirm with the inpatient unit whether or not the patient is eligible for visitors.
- If the patient is eligible for visitors, the visitor will be directed to the inpatient’s unit.
- If a patient is not eligible for visitors, the visitor will be asked to return the next day.
Please note that certain inpatient units may have additional constraints or requirements beyond these guidelines. Patients, inpatient visitors, and required caregivers should contact the specific department or unit if there are questions.
Others who may wish to visit a gift shop, cafeteria, food court or bank, or to socialize or exercise on the facility campus, are not permitted on D-HH premises while these guidelines remain in place.
Important note regarding exception for patients with disabilities
Patients with disabilities, such as significant physical disabilities or intellectual or cognitive disabilities, may require the presence of a family member, personal care assistant, or similar disability service provider who are knowledgeable about the management of the patient's care and/or able to assist during the patient's hospitalization. This will be permitted, and limited to one designated support person, unless otherwise authorized. The designated support person must comply with the requirements outlined below for all required caregivers, all of which are aimed at containing spread of COVID-19.
As part of our effort to keep patients and staff healthy, all persons entering D-HH facilities will be screened at entrances for symptoms of COVID-19. Screening is intended for the wellness of our patients and employees. Any person who has the symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted in the building.
Masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene
To protect all of us, we will design each visit to fit the particular patient situation. Our patients have a variety of medical conditions and spaces are adaptable to those needs. To maintain the highest level of safety, we will keep in place principles and expectations of social distancing (mask wearing, handwashing, and other measures). Specific rules which apply to each location and/or clinical needs are available.
- Patients will be allowed to wear a cloth mask of their own or will be provided a cloth mask from in-stock community donations when they enter a D-HH facility.
- At the end of their visit, they can choose to keep the provided cloth mask or recycle it at an exit location for future cleaning and reuse.
- Any patients exhibiting symptoms who are seeking care will be provided a medical face mask for their clinical visit.
- It is important to remember that maintaining a 6-foot distance between individuals remains a critical factor in reducing the spread of COVID-19. It is equally important to know that cloth masks are only meant to reduce the spread of virus from someone who is infected.
- Cloth masks are not as effective and will not be worn as PPE when caring for a patient with suspect or confirmed COVID-19.
Virtual visits for hospitalized patients
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.
Caregiver and visitor guidelines
The following guidelines apply to patients who are seen in any Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health (D-HH) system member hospital or outpatient care area.
Adult inpatients who do not have COVID-19 are now allowed one visitor per patient per day. See the visitor check-in process, above.
Individual departments, sections, or units may have additional limitations or requirements beyond these guidelines. These additional guidelines are based on the need to maintain patient or staff health and safety. Patients and required caregivers should contact the specific department or unit if there are questions.
- Patients able to receive care in the inpatient and outpatient environments without the presence of a required caregiver (family member or other support person) must do so. We support and encourage the use of electronic devices and virtual tools to include required caregivers and loved ones at visits and in care discussions, planning, and decision making during hospital stays.
- For both outpatient and inpatient settings, permitted required caregivers and inpatient visitors must be without any COVID-19 symptoms and successfully pass our symptom screening before entering a building. Any required caregiver who has the symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted in the building.
- Required caregivers and inpatient visitors can expect to be screened every time they enter a D-HH building and they will be required to wear a personal or D-HH issued cloth mask (adequately covering the nose and mouth) while inside the D-HH facility.
- Individuals under age 14 may not visit inpatients. If they must accompany a patient and/or required caregiver for an outpatient appointment, they must wear a personal or D-HH issued cloth mask, and they must remain with the patient/caregiver at all times.
The Emergency Department staff will decide based on clinical judgment when it is appropriate for a required caregiver to be with a patient. A space and other conditions permit, pediatric patients in the Emergency Department may have up to two, adult primary required caregivers (parent or guardian) present.
Adult patients who do not require a required caregiver should attend their appointments alone. Adult patients who require a caregiver for physical or cognitive support may have one person accompany them to an outpatient appointment.
If the patient believes more than one person is necessary, special arrangements with the clinic leadership must be made in advance.
Certain outpatient settings may have additional constraints or requirements beyond these guidelines. Patients and caregivers should contact the specific department or unit if there are questions.
All adult outpatients having a procedure may have one required caregiver, family member or friend present. Those individuals may leave the building and they will be given information about when they need to return. For procedures requiring a driver post-procedure, the driver and caregiver, family member or friend will be the same individual. Caregivers will be screened at entrance doors each time they enter.
Patients who are not COVID-19 positive and able to receive care in the inpatient environments without the presence of a required caregiver to provide physical or cognitive support must do so. If a patient requires a caregiver, one caregiver is permitted. The caregiver should be the same person, to the greatest extent possible. Inpatient nursing staff will work with the patient and family to assess the need for a caregiver. While adult inpatients may have one visitor per day per patient, certain inpatient units may have additional constraints or requirements beyond these guidelines. Patients and required caregivers should contact the specific department or unity if there are questions. Please note the revised inpatient visitor definition and process, above.
Inpatients who are COVID-19 positive or under investigation for COVID-19
No caregivers or inpatient visitors will be permitted, except with respect to patients receiving end of life care. Virtual visits are encouraged, and we are happy to assist with them. Exceptions for COVID-positive patients who are receiving End of Life care may be granted to allow limited visitation with approval from the care team. These exceptions are subject to additional D-HH requirements as applicable.
Obstetrics (OB) – labor, delivery and post-partum care at DHMC
One caregiver or partner may be present through labor, delivery and post-partum care. Birthing Pavilion staff will review unit-specific guidelines for caregivers or partners. We are happy to assist with virtual visits and highly encourage them as a way to involve other family members and friends.
Effective Monday, August 3, outpatient prenatal patients are welcome to bring one adult visitor with them to their prenatal and ultrasound visits.
Pediatrics – outpatient appointments and procedures, and inpatient care (including COVID-positive patients)
As space and other conditions permit, inpatient pediatric (including neonatal) patients may have up to two adult primary caregivers (parents or legal guardians) with them. During hospitalization, the two designated caregivers should be the same two people to the greatest extent possible. The designated caregivers for hospitalized pediatric patients with possible or diagnosed COVID-19 should remain with the patient in the patient's room during the patient's stay.
Ambulatory (outpatient) pediatric patients are permitted one (1) adult primary caregiver for a clinic visit. We will work with our patients' parents or guardians to accommodate special circumstances, but exceptions must be approved by the appointment provider prior to arrival for the visit.
Inpatients receiving End of Life care
End of Life care includes Comfort Measures Only (CMO), At Risk of Imminent Death, or at Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care.
Assuming the patient is not COVID-19 positive or under investigation for COVID-19, two family members/friends may visit at a time. As with any caregivers, these visitors must wear a personal or D-HH issued cloth mask at all times while in the facility. For a patient who is to be discharged home with hospice care, visits should be postponed or planned to the home setting whenever possible.
- Information about COVID-19
- D-HH is Open, Safe and Here for You
- Recovery Webinar Series
- D-HH Heroes
- Mental Health Webinar Series
- Visitors to D-HH Facilities
- COVID-19 Testing Information
- Pregnancy and Breast Milk
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Community and Employee Relief Funds
- Recent News Updates
- COVID-19 FAQs
- Additional References
- Information in Other Languages
- Self-Quarantine vs. Self-Isolation