Studer Family Children's Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart
- Hospital/Medical Center
- Specialty Care
Policy for Visiting a Patient
At Ascension Sacred Heart, we believe that the presence of family and friends is very beneficial to your child’s healing. You are a valuable member of your child’s care team, and your visits will help in your child’s care.
Our staff has a strong commitment to family-centered care. Our visiting guidelines support family involvement, recognizing the role of families in the lives of their children.
There are times, however, when your child’s medical needs must take priority over family wishes. The following visitation guidelines strive to blend these two important priorities.
- Hours: Visiting hours are unlimited.
- For visitors between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.: Upon arrival at The Children’s Hospital, please visit our Information Desk and ask for a visitors’ badge, which must be worn at all times.
- Arriving for a Visit: All visitors must call on the phone located outside the unit to ask the nurse if it is okay to visit at this time. (Because of procedures occurring in the room, we may ask you to wait a period of time.)
- Overnight Visitors: Visitors age 18 and under are not allowed to stay overnight in hospital rooms or in the lobby.
To call the room phone of a patient currently in the hospital, dial 416-8 followed by the patient’s three-digit room number. If calling from outside of Northwest Florida, please start by dialing area code 850. Medical information will only be given to the child’s parents, unless the parents have given their permission for another person to receive information.
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
*Please note the special guidelines below for our pediatric intensive care unit, which apply in addition to the general Studer Family Children's Hospital Visitation Policy listed above.
- Hours: Visiting hours are unlimited. However, we do ask that visitors be kept to a minimum during our quiet hours, which are from 2 to 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
- Gifts: Latex balloons are not allowed in the PICU.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
*Please note the special guidelines below for our neonatal intensive care unit, which apply in addition to the general Studer Family Children's Hospital Visitation Policy listed above.
Because your baby will heal and grow best in a quiet environment, we have planned Quiet Time every shift.
Your baby’s nurse may also ask you to leave the unit during a neighboring baby’s admission, during an emergency situation or if another baby in the same room will be having a procedure performed. Other guidelines are as follows:
- Only parents and immediate grandparents (up to four) may visit. Names of the four grandparents must be provided by parents prior to grandparents being allowed to visit.
- When visiting, parents and grandparents must call on the phone located outside the NICU to ask the nurse if it is okay to visit at this time. (Because of procedures occurring in the nursery, we may ask you to wait a period of time.)
- ALL visitors must remove their jewelry and wash their hands according to the hand-washing technique posted above scrub sinks at the entrance to the unit.
- Parents and grandparents will be required to wear a mask in the nursery when they visit. (Parents can discontinue masking after culture results are confirmed negative.)
- Only two visitors per baby are allowed to enter the NICU at a time. All other visitors will be asked to wait outside the NICU.
- For safety reasons, parents and grandparents are not allowed to visit at another baby’s bedside.
- Parents are required to wear their ID Band until the day of discharge.
While your infant is in the NICU, the amount of care you are able to provide to your baby may be minimal, but our staff will try in every way to involve you as much as possible. As your baby’s condition improves, you will be able to do more, including holding, diapering, feeding, bathing, etc. Your nurse will encourage you to take ‘breaks’ away from the unit. Taking good care of yourself is very important for both you and your baby, and taking time away from the unit is part of this self-care.
Additional details on Visitation Policy
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. 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 speciality 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.