Information for hospital visitors
The hospitals of Ascension Florida supports patient-centered care and recognizes that a healing environment for patients includes the emotional, spiritual, and physical support of those individuals who know the patient best. Our goal is to have a place of healing, which provides patient privacy and a safe and secure environment for visitors, employees, and patients.
Family, friends and/or representatives of the patients’ choosing are encouraged to visit and provide support during the patient’s hospital stay. We welcome loved ones to come see you while you are in the hospital.
In general, visitors are encouraged to visit between 6:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For the comfort of patients and visitors, it is recommended that only two persons visit at one time. In most cases and with patient approval, one responsible adult (18 years or older) will be allowed to stay overnight.
Visitors of patients who are in isolation must follow the instructions provided in Infection Control policies and as instructed by the isolation signage.
The hospital may find it necessary to restrict visitation of a specific person or limit the duration of visits and/or the number of visitors under certain circumstances.
Visitation policies are subject to change. Additional rules for visitation are listed below. Please call 850-278-3000 for the latest information.
Distancing, masks and hand washing
Anyone over 6 years of age will be required to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times—including in patient’s rooms, regardless of COVID-19 vaccine status. Please bring your own mask or one will be provided.
We continue to prevent overcrowding in waiting rooms. In some locations, there will be signs for restricted seating.
All visitors are asked to wash their hands before entering or exiting patient rooms.
Calling to check on your family member
We recommend designating one family member to be responsible for getting updates on your loved one. If you are calling to check on a patient’s condition or treatment, please have the patient’s PIN number available. It is at the discretion of the patient with whom they share this number. We are not able to release any information to those calling who do not have the PIN. This is to protect patient’s privacy. To speak to the patient’s nurse, please call 850-278-3000 and give the operator the patient’s room number. The operator will connect you to the appropriate floor for an update.
Additional Visitation Policy Details
Family, friends and/or representatives of the patients’ choosing are encouraged to visit and provide support during the patient’s hospital stay. Patients and families will be informed of visiting hours and rules upon admission to the unit. Visitors are welcome unless their presence interferes with others’ rights, safety, or is medically contraindicated. In general, patients have the right to identify an Essential Caregiver to be available during the course of their stay. Certain specialty areas have additional rules for visitation that are listed below.
The patient may verbally designate, withdraw, or deny anyone as an approved visitor at any time. The hospital will not restrict, limit, or otherwise deny visitation privileges based upon race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. The Hospital will ensure that all visitors enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with the patient’s preferences and will respect patients’ rights to restrict or refuse visitors.
Nursing and Security are responsible for administering this policy. Questions regarding visitation can be directed to the House Supervisor.
Essential Caregiver: A patient designated visitor who will be available to the patient during their stay. The Essential Caregiver will not be required or expected to provide any necessary care to the patient. The individual may or may not be the patient’s surrogate decision maker or legally authorized representative. At any time, the patient has the right to change the designation of his or her Essential Caregiver and is not required to keep the same individual for the duration of his/her hospitalization.
Hospital: A hospital facility that is a part of Ascension Florida. Such facilities include: St. Vincent’s Southside; Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside, Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County; Ascension Sacred Heart Bay; Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast; Ascension Sacred Heart Gulf, and Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola.
Visitation of COVID Patients:
- Visitation for positive COVID patients in Inpatient Units, Emergency Departments and Clinics is authorized. All visitors for positive COVID-19 patients must wear a mask and eye protection. All isolation precautions must be followed by any visitor and staff must educate the visitor on how to appropriately don/doff personal protective equipment prior to the visit.
A. In general, visitors are encouraged to visit between 6:00 am to 8:30 pm. For the comfort of patients and visitors, it is recommended that only two persons visit at one time.
B. A person designated as the Essential Caregiver may visit for two hours in person in addition to any other allowed visitation.
C. In-person visitation will be allowed in all of the following circumstances unless the patient objects:
1. End-of-life situations
2. A patient who was living with family before being admitted to the provider’s care is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
3. The patient is making one or more major medical decisions.
4. A patient is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
5. A patient needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
6. A patient who used to talk and interact with others is seldom speaking.
7. Childbirth, including labor and delivery.
8. Pediatric patients.
D. The Hospital may find it necessary to restrict visitation of a specific person or limit the duration of visits and/or the number of visitors under certain circumstances. Considerations include:
1. A legal court order limiting or restraining contact.
2. Behavior risks or threats to patients, hospital staff, or others in the immediate environment.
3. Behavior disruptive to the functioning of the patient care unit.
4. Prisoners are subject to the authority of the local jurisdiction and are not allowed visitors unless specifically authorized by the Prison Warden and arranged through Hospital Security.
5. When a sterile environment is needed, visitors may be asked to leave the room temporarily.
6. Patient’s need for privacy or rest.
7. Need for privacy or rest by another individual in the patient’s shared room.
8. When a patient is undergoing a clinical intervention or procedure and the treating health care professional believes it is in the patient’s best interest to limit visitation during the clinical intervention or procedure.
9. Violations of hospital policy:
- Visitors are required to follow Hospital policies. The Hospital may suspend in-person visitation of a specific visitor if the visitor violates Hospital policies and procedures. Examples of potential policy violations may include but are not limited to: violent and/or threatening behavior, conduct that is disruptive to the unit, behavior that interferes with treatment, and refusal to wear appropriate PPE. In the event an Essential Caregiver’s visitation is restricted due to policy violations, the patient will be given the opportunity to designate a new Essential Caregiver.
E. Due to the size of the patient rooms, one responsible adult (18 years or older) will be allowed to stay overnight. Any guest visiting between the hours of 8:00 pm and 4:30 am will be required to register with security.
F. Consensual physical contact (ex. hand holding and hugging) is allowed between patient and visitor.
G. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult, other than the patient, at all times. It is asked that the adult supervisor ensure that the visiting children do not disturb other patients. Any problems occurring with rowdiness of visiting children may result in asking the supervising adult to remove the children.
H. Visitors are allowed in the Waiting Areas at all times.
I. Visitors of patients in isolation must follow the instructions provided in Infection Control policies and as instructed by the isolation signage. Visitors under the age of 12 may be restricted from visiting patients in isolation. For the safety of the patient and the employees, visitors who fail to comply with isolation protocols may have visitation privileges suspended.
J. Visitors exhibiting any signs or symptoms of infection and/or illness are encouraged to avoid visiting hospitalized patients. Symptoms of illness could include, but are not limited to: cough, fever, runny nose, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, or sore throat.
K. Security should be contacted immediately if:
a. The visitor is threatening, disruptive, abusive or intoxicated.
b. The visitor is believed to be bringing in contraband.
c. The visitor or visitation is interfering with the treatment or care of the patient.