Protecting the safety of patients, communities and team members
To help contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as well as protect patients and team members, all Ballad Health hospitals and long-term care facilities are implementing new visitation guidelines.
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Before you visit
Before visiting any Ballad Health facility, please plan to wear a mask or face covering.
Due to the increased risk of virus transmission, Ballad Health will provide surgical masks at no cost to patients and visitors at our screening or check-in locations. Visitors and patients who are already wearing a medical-grade mask (surgical/procedural, N-95, KN-95 or KF94) will not be asked to replace their masks.
If you have a medical emergency, please call 911.
Patients in our hospitals, outpatient centers and doctor’s offices will only be allowed two visitors at a time
This does not have to be two designated visitors for the entire length of stay, but it does limit the number of people who will be in our facilities at any time.
Pediatric patients are still allowed two visitors.
We will also not permit any children under the age of 18 to visit our facilities (unless they qualify for an approved extenuating circumstance), and all visitors will undergo symptom screenings and must remain masked at all times – even if they’re vaccinated.
There are other exceptions in certain cases to our visitation restrictions.
Hospital inpatient unit and surgery visitation
Ballad Health is currently allowing 2 patient-support persons (or visitors) at a time in our inpatient hospital units. One visitor may remain with the patient overnight, and this visitor must be in the facility prior to 8 p.m.
Each visitor will be screened for potential signs of illness and they will be required to wear a cloth face covering, provided by themselves.
COVID-19 positive patients and patients under investigation
Visitation for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are under investigation is limited to 1 designated visitor for the length of their hospitalization. Visits are limited to two hours and must be scheduled ahead of time.
These visitors must wear appropriate, designated PPE throughout the visit.
- COVID-19 positive patients in labor and delivery units, who will be allowed one visitor during the entirety of their hospital stay
- COVID-19 positive patients in the neonatal intensive care unit at Niswonger Children's Hospital and in pediatric rooms, who will be allowed two visitors that must be parents/guardians
Concessions for end-of-life and extenuating circumstances will be made on a case-by-case basis. Ballad Health will ensure the patient/family has been offered a virtual visit through a daily video visit.
The patient-support persons (or visitors) will only be allowed on site from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. A visitor may remain with the patient overnight, and this visitor must be in the facility prior to 8 p.m. Visitors who remain with the patient after 8 p.m. will stay in the patient room. If the visitor remaining with the patient after 8 p.m. leaves the facility at any point during the night, the visitor will not be permitted for re-entry until 8 a.m.
Visitation restriction exceptions
Two guests are permitted at all times in the following areas, and during extenuating circumstances or in the case of end-of-life care.
Ballad Health’s labor and delivery units will allow 1 patient support person and two visitors. Please note that your doula does not count as one of your visitors.
Patients will designate their support person and visitors upon admission, and they will remain the same for the entire length of stay.
NICU and PICU at Niswonger Children's Hospital, as well as rooms with pediatric patients
The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Niswonger Children’s Hospital – as well as rooms with pediatric patients – will allow 2 visitors, who must be parents or guardians. They are permitted at all times.
Exceptions for extenuating circumstances must be made on a case-by-case basis.
Hospice and end-of-life care
Family members are permitted to be with a dying patient.
In recognition of the fact that exact timing of anticipated death is often unpredictable and unknown, patients identified as comfort care, hospice and/or at end of life will be permitted the following to support them and their families at this time:
- Four visitors allowed – A maximum of 4 visitors may be present in the patient room at any given time. These visitors should primarily be limited to immediate family members/significant individuals to the patient.
- Plan your visit – Visits should be planned, and the schedule communicated to the screening team at the facility’s entrance. Considering an unknown length of the process, the family visits may occur daily if desired and as scheduled above.
- Wear a mask – Visitors will be provided a surgical mask at no cost at our screening or check-in locations. Visitors who are wearing a medical-grade mask (surgical/procedural, N-95, KN-95 or KF94) will not be asked to replace their masks.
- Limit your visit – Visitors should proceed to the patient room and exit the facility directly.
Individual exceptions to the number of family members may be considered if approved by nursing leadership and based on the patient’s care provision requirements at the time of the visit request.
Visiting a patient under exception
Before you are allowed to visit any patient under these limited exceptions, you will need to answer several questions to evaluate any potential COVID-19 risk.
If necessary, you will:
- Have your temperature checked
- Be screened for potential signs of illness
- Wear a cloth face covering, provided by yourself
- or not be permitted to visit
Specific entrances vary per facility, and each one is clearly identified for the public.
Team member access
Ballad Health team members can still access restricted areas using their employee badges.
Long-term care facilities
Two visitors are allowed per room in our long-term care facilities.
Visitation must be pre-scheduled at long-term care facilities, including:
- Francis Marion Manor Health & Rehabilitation – Marion, Va.
- Laughlin Healthcare Center – Greeneville, Tenn.
- Madison House – Kingsport, Tenn.
- Mountain View Regional Hospital – Norton, Va.
- Wexford House – Kingsport, Tenn.
Exceptions to long-term care visitation can also be made for end-of-life and other extraordinary situations.
Behavioral health facilities
Visitation is currently not permitted in adult units in behavioral health centers, including:
- 5 East behavioral health unit – Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol, Tenn.
- Clearview Behavioral Health – Russell County Hospital, Lebanon, Va.
- Green Oak Behavioral Health – Dickenson Community Hospital, Clintwood, Va.
- Ridgeview Pavilion – Bristol, Tenn.
- New Leaf Senior Care inpatient geropsych – Sycamore Shoals Hospital, Elizabethton, Tenn.
- Woodridge Hospital – Johnson City, Tenn.*
*The child and adolescent unit at Woodridge also has a process in place for parents and guardians to visit – affected families have been contacted to discuss these changes.
Why these restrictions?
Please note: Ballad Health’s updated visitation policy was developed following guidance by state departments of health.
Vendors and volunteers
All non-essential vendors are restricted from all Ballad Health facilities. This restriction includes Ballad Health Medical Associates offices.
Operating room vendors
Vendors visiting the operating room are exempt from these restrictions.
All volunteers will be restricted from all Ballad Health facilities, effective Saturday, March 21.
How long will these restrictions be in place?
These limitations will remain in place until further notice. Ballad Health will issue communication when the restrictions are lifted or modified.
Think you might have COVID-19?
COVID-19 drive-thru testing
If you are concerned you may be ill, schedule a COVID-19 test online at one of our drive-thru test sites. Ballad Health offers testing for patients of all ages.
Enter your location and select "COVID Testing – No Symptoms" as your reason for visit.
Appointments are required. Referrals aren't needed.
Learn more about COVID-19 testing.
Find more COVID-19 updates and information here.