Reduced Parent, Caregiver, and Sibling Entry during COVID-19

Young girl wearing a protective mask We recognize the importance of visitors in the health and well-being of our patients and families. As community spread of COVID-19 continues and vaccination rates increase, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) continues to review and adjust its visitation policies. 

At this time, to keep our patients, families and staff safe from COVID-19 and other respiratory viral infections, the following guidelines are in place. Please read carefully before you visit any CHOP location.

Masks Required

Please note that because we are a healthcare facility, all eligible visitors, even if fully vaccinated, need to wear their masks at all times in all of our facilities and locations. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our patients safe.

For inpatient visits at the hospital

In the continued efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we strongly recommend reducing the number of healthy adults coming in and out of the hospital.

  • No more than four healthy people age 12 and older are allowed to visit a patient during a hospital stay. However, we strongly recommend that only one of these visitors accompany your child at the bedside at a time. No more than two individuals at a time will be permitted. 
  • All four pre-determined visitors must be identified at the time of admission and must remain the same during the entire hospital admission.
  • Two of these four people should be the parents/legal guardians (age 18 and older), unless the parents/legal guardians identify a designee based on the family’s situation. These 2 designated people may sleep at the bedside and stay 24 hours a day. Please consider alternating who stays with your child, staying for at least 24 hours at a time, so that only one adult is present whenever possible. Reducing the number of healthy adults coming in and out of the hospital is important to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 
  • The other two of the four visitors may be chosen at the discretion of the patient and/or family to best support them. These two pre-determined visitors are allowed during visiting hours, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • For safety reasons, siblings under age 12 are not permitted to visit patients who are admitted to the hospital at this time (with the exception of breastfeeding infants). If a sibling age 12 years or older is identified as one of the patient’s designated visitors, they may visit between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. 

For outpatient visits at all CHOP locations

No more than two healthy people are allowed to accompany patients to any appointment at a CHOP location. However, in the continued efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our patients who remain unvaccinated, we recommend that only one healthy parent/legal guardian accompany the patient at any time.

  • For outpatient visits, a sibling may be the second person accompanying the patient and the patient’s legal guardian.
  • Any sibling age 2 and older is required to wear a mask.
  • Any sibling must be healthy and will be screened upon arrival, just like adult visitors (read more below).

Guidelines for ALL visitors to ANY CHOP location

  • All eligible visitors, even if fully vaccinated, need to wear their masks at all times in all of our facilities and locations, including in your child’s room when a staff member is present. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends that masks should still be worn in all healthcare facilities. Because we have many patients who are not vaccinated and are at higher risk for disease, we ask all visitors, even if they are fully vaccinated, to continue to wear well-fitted masks over their mouths and noses while at any CHOP location. Thank you for partnering with us to keep our patients safe.
  • All eligible visitors must be healthy and will be screened at each visit for signs of illness, including fever, cough or GI symptoms. For safety reasons, if anyone is showing symptoms of illness, they will not be able to visit. Anyone with a pending COVID-19 test should not visit. Please remind your designated visitors to postpone their visit if they are sick
  • If you need to urgently bring your child to the Emergency Department, please ask a friend, family member or adult caregiver to help you take care of other children. We understand how difficult it can be to make childcare arrangements and plan for siblings. We thank you for your partnership in making sure that all siblings stay home.
  • Vaccination for COVID-19 is highly encouraged for all parents, guardians and visitors to protect our patients, their families, and our staff. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask your child’s nurse or a member of their care team. Thank you for partnering with us.

Frequently asked questions

Why do inpatient visitors have to be 12 or over?

Because children younger than 12 cannot currently be vaccinated for COVID-19, to keep them safe we are not allowing them to visit at this time. Please speak with your child’s nurse or care team if you have any questions.

What happens if I need to change one of my child’s designated visitors during their inpatient stay?

As much as possible, we ask that designated visitors stay the same during your child’s inpatient stay to help keep them safe. We understand that there may be situations where you may have to make a change. Please speak with child’s nurse or care team to see if we can accommodate this change.

Are any visitor exceptions being made for holidays?

We recognize how stressful this time is and how meaningful it is to have family members observe holidays together. Unfortunately, we are not able to make exceptions related to holidays, including religious observances at this time. Our staff will work with you to ensure your family has the opportunity to recognize your significant holidays and life events.

Can we have our spiritual advisor see our child?

For families who would like a spiritual advisor to see their child, CHOP has multifaith chaplains available 24/7. If you’d like a visit from a spiritual advisor, please ask your nurse to connect with our CHOP Spiritual Care Team to facilitate a visit according to your family’s preferred religious tradition. 

What if my family has extenuating circumstances?

Please ask your nurse to speak to the social worker for the area and nursing leadership. We will discuss your extenuating circumstances with you and let you know what supports we can provide. 

Help us reduce the spread of COVID-19: Masking and safety tips

We are closely following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance which states all people (vaccinated or not) must continue to wear masks in healthcare facilities. Based on these recommendations for the public and to keep our patients, families, and staff safe from COVID-19, CHOP asks that all parents and caregivers visiting a CHOP facility wear a mask as an extra layer of protection - even if you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Families can bring their own masks, or our staff can provide you with a disposable mask upon arrival.

It's important to know that not all masks provide effective protection. All masks should have two layers of cloth that fit tightly over your nose and mouth. It is also important to wear your mask properly, covering both your mouth and nose. If you are at CHOP for an inpatient stay, please wear your mask while outside of your child’s room and when staff are in the room. You do not need to wear the mask while you sleep. We appreciate your support in wearing a mask to help keep everyone safe.

Effective Masks and Masking: Cloth Masks and Medical Masks. Masks must cover both nose and mouth.
 
Ineffective Masks and Masking: Bandanas, Neck Gators, Valved Masks. Wearing mask with nose, or both nose and mouth exposed is also ineffective.
 

We also ask all caregivers to do the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose or mouth if you don’t have clean hands.
  • Please practice physical distancing by maintaining 6 feet distance from others. While you are traveling to and from and within our facilities, we ask you to please stay at least 6 feet from others. This includes our ambulatory clinic areas and inpatient units.

These guidelines will be continuously evaluated related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We understand this is a difficult time and want you to know that we are here to help. Thank you for your partnership and support in helping us keep our patients, families and staff safe. If you have questions related to COVID-19 please call the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline at 1-800-722-7112. 

Updated July 31, 2021


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