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Visiting Hours & Guidelines

Emergency Department Safety Screening Protocols Heywood Hospital 

  • All Patients entering the Emergency Departments will be Screened via a security wand and bags checked.
  • Patients entering the ED Treatment area may be provided a gown.
  • Visitation is restricted in the Emergency Department (exceptions include caregivers, parents of minors, activated healthcare proxies, and will be screened by security) subject to screening) 

Emergency Department (ED) Visitors

  • Adult Patients: 1 healthy visitor, support person or caregiver.
  • Pediatric Patients: 2 healthy parents or guardians at a time, These visitors can rotate at the descrstion of the Charge Nurse or Security.
  • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

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

The determination of visitor eligibility and the number of allowed visitors will be made by the emergency provider, charge nurse, and security.

End of Life Care or Comfort Care

Decisions about visitation and number of visitors allowed will be made collaboratively with the patient, the clinical care team, unit leadership, and a patient’s loved ones, as appropriate, on a case-by-case basis.

General Visiting Hours

Visiting hours: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, 7 days a week.

Caregivers and other Support Persons may be present at any time unless restricted due to safety or health reasons. These individuals are not considered a visitor.

Visitor Expectations

Visitation of patients in the hospital is a privilege and we expect every person entering our facilities to uphold our health and safety requirements. Visitors who fail to or refuse to comply with these requirements may be asked to leave.

Face Masks

It is important to protect other people from getting COVID-19. Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and there are many factors that go into mask recommendations. These include the infection rate in the local area, new variants that may be quick to spread, and the setting. The CDC, local communities and public spaces such as hospitals review these factors to determine the safest approach to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Even if you are fully vaccinated and have a booster, wearing a mask provides an extra layer of protection, especially when you are around a person who may be at greater risk of COVID-19, such as a hospitalized person.

Visitors are encouraged to wear masks while in our facility. During those times when the infection rates are high, we strongly recommend that everyone wear a mask while in the facility including the time spent in a patient’s room. 

Hand Hygiene

Visitors should sanitize their hands upon entering the facility and every time they enter or leave a patient’s room.

General Provisions

Visitors must be 18 years of age or older. Visitors age 17 and under may be permitted to visit under special circumstances and, if permitted, must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Visitors should remain in the patient’s room for the entire visit. 
  • Visitors should socially distance in patient rooms.

Food and Drink

Food and drink may not be consumed in public areas, waiting areas, waiting rooms or in the Emergency Department. Face masks should be worn at all times in these areas.

Food and drink may not be consumed in patient rooms on inpatient units if the patient is on Transmission based Precautions for known or suspected communicable disease.

Food and drink may be consumed in non-precaution patient rooms on inpatient units as follows:

  • Food and drink are for personal consumption only. Visitors may not bring in food or drinks for patients without approval of the healthcare team.

  • Visitors should be at least 6 feet away from the patient while eating or drinking.

Visitation Guidelines

This policy applies to all Heywood Healthcare locations including Athol Hospital, Heywood Hospital, Heywood Medical Group and satellite offices and departments.

The health and safety of our patients, visitors, employees, and our communities remains our top priority. In line with guidance issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, our visitor policies have been updated to reflect the limitations that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. We continue to closely monitor the levels of COVID-19 in our community, assessing and revising this policy as needed in response to pandemic circumstances.

Virtual Visits for hospitalized patients

Family members and friends are encouraged to use their telephone or video calls to stay in touch with their loved ones. For patients who may not have a device or need help connecting, staff may facilitate virtual visits.

COVID-19 Positive Patients / Patients Under Investigation

No visitors are allowed for COVID-19 positive patients or for those under investigation for COVID-19 infection. Special exceptions may be made at the discretion of the patient care team

Adult inpatients

Intensive Care Unit, Watkins 1, Watkins 2, Mental Health Unit, Geriatric Psychiatric Unit, Athol Inpatient, Athol Swing

  • 2 healthy adult visitors at a time.
  • Visitors may rotate.
  • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

Pediatric inpatients
Watkins 2

  • 2 healthy adult visitors at a time.
  • Visitors may rotate.
  • Parents or guardians may visit outside of normal visiting hours.  
  • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

Labor and delivery patients

  • 2 healthy adult support persons may stay with the patient during active labor.
  • Support persons should remain with the patient and may not rotate out.

Maternity/Postpartum patients

  • 2 healthy adults at a time.
  • 1 healthy adult support person may stay with the patient overnight before and after birth.
  • Siblings aged 2 to 17 years old may visit if they are with an adult.
  • Children under the age of 2 years may not visit.

Outpatient Departments
All locations

  • Adult Patients: 1 healthy adult visitor, support person or caregiver  
  • Pediatric Patients: 2 healthy parents or guardians  
  • We continue to encourage those who can attend outpatient appointments on their own.
  • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.

Perioperative appointments or procedures
Heywood Hospital, Athol Hospital

  • Adult Patients: 1 healthy adult visitor, support person or caregiver 
  • Pediatric Patients: 2 healthy parents or guardians  
  • Visitors 17 and under by exception only.
  • Visitor, support person or caregiver may be asked to leave once patient has been moved out of the pre-surgical area.
  • Visitor, support person or caregiver will be contacted by a member of the care team to return once patient is in the recovery area.