Patient & Visitor Resources
Modified on 1/7/2022 at 03:32pm

How to talk to patients and their families about the implementation of special precautions and policies to keep our community safe.


This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. All information is meant for use by health care workers and not the general public. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. No physician-patient relationship is created by this web site or its use. Neither the University of Iowa nor its employees, nor any contributor to this web site, makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.

Visitor restrictions

Visitor restriction guidelines
Updated on 12/12/2022 at 10:18 am

Effective Dec. 14, 2022:

  • Adult outpatients (arriving for a clinic visit, then returning home):
    • Two visitors/support persons are allowed for patients aged 18–21.
    • One visitor/support person is allowed for patients aged 22–64.
    • Two visitors/support persons are allowed for patients 65 and older.
    • One visitor/support person is allowed for prenatal appointments.
    • One visitor/support person is allowed for postpartum patients and lactation visits up to eight weeks after delivery.
  • Adult inpatients: Two visitors/support people are allowed per patient per day.
    • Visiting hours are from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
      • If a patient is admitted after 8 p.m., visitors are all allowed to go to the inpatient unit for one hour after patient admission.
    • Overnight stays can be arranged at the unit level.
  • Adult surgical and procedural patients: Two visitors/support people are allowed per patient per day.
    • At least one visitor must be 18 or older.
  • Pediatric outpatients (arriving for a clinic visit, then returning home): Two adult visitors/support persons are allowed.
  • Pediatric inpatients (0-17 years of age): Two visitors/support persons are allowed per patient per day.
    • Only parents/legal guardians (or their designated pediatric support person) may stay overnight.
    • Visitors under the age of 18 are not permitted in the NICU and PICU/PCICU. Compassionate exceptions may be made by the NICU and PICU/PCICU nurse manager/designee.
  • Pediatric surgical and procedural patients: Two visitors/support persons are allowed per patient per day.
  • Labor and Delivery Unit: Two visitors/support people plus birth support person/doula or partner (father/designee of baby) are allowed per patient.
  • Emergency Department: One visitor/support person per patient is allowed.
  • Behavioral Health Services: Two visitors/support persons per patient are allowed.

General visitor requirements:

  • For the health and safety of our patients, there are some units that require different visitor restrictions.
    • Visitors must be aged 12 or older.
    • Visitors must be healthy and not exhibit symptoms of a contagious illness.
    • Visitors will be screened upon arrival.
    • Visitors must be documented in Epic.
    • Visitors must be able to wear a face mask.
    • Visitors will be asked to stay in designated areas as much as possible.
    • Visitors should be a support person who is essential for the physical and/or mental well-being of the patient (for minors – should have a substantial relationship to the patient such as child of the patient, sibling of the patient, or an equivalently close relationship)
    • Exceptions outside of the visitation guidelines are maintained at the unit level.

Clergy exception

  • Patients may receive religious services or visits from the clergy member of their choice at any reasonable time if it can be provided without disruption to care.
    • Such clergy members will not count as the patient’s visitor under the current visitor restriction guidelines.
    • The unit nurse manager must enter the specific name of the clergy member in Epic so the Safety Ambassadors, Guest Services, and others are aware.
Staff FAQ about visitor restrictions
Updated on 10/31/2022 at 2:45 pm

What is a visitor/support person?

At this point in time, we must limit the number of people in our buildings. A support person is defined as someone who is needed for the patient’s physical and mental well-being. 

Are there additional guidelines that these visitors must follow?

General visitor requirements:

For the health and safety of our patients, there are some units that require different visitor restrictions.

  • Visitors must be aged 12 or older.
  • Visitors must be healthy and not exhibit symptoms of a contagious illness.
  • Visitors will be screened upon arrival.
  • Visitors must be documented in Epic.
  • Visitors must be able to wear a face mask.
  • Visitors will be asked to stay in designated areas as much as possible.
  • Visitors should be a support person who is essential for the physical and/or mental well-being of the patient (for minors – should have a substantial relationship to the patient such as child of the patient, sibling of the patient, or an equivalently close relationship)
  • Exceptions outside of the visitation guidelines are maintained at the unit level.

See visitor restriction guidelines.

What are the guidelines about patients and visitors wearing face masks?

Face masks are required for all patients and visitors. If they do not have their own face mask, we will provide one to them. Patients unable to wear a face mask for medical reasons will be provided a face shield. Face masks should not be worn by children age two or younger.

Why do we require face masks?

Face masks are one important measure to help prevent the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19.

What’s the process to ask for an exception of the visitor restrictions?

Careful consideration is given to each patient situation to determine exceptions to the visitor restrictions. Staff should take questions about exceptions to their nurse manager or department leader for possible further review.

Visitor exceptions may be made for patients with unique conditions or circumstances

Exception guidelines to consider for adults in ambulatory settings:

  • Patients with cognitive impairments
  • Patients with limited mobility
  • Patients with disruptive behavior, where a caregiver is key to their safety and care
  • Patients who do not speak English
  • Patients with hearing loss/deafness or blindness

Final decisions on exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the area’s nurse manager and select clinical leadership using established criteria.

Patient representatives from the Office of the Patient Experience (OPE) can be paged to talk to potential visitors about their circumstance. If off-site, visitors may call 1-319-356-1616.

Clergy exception

  • Patients may receive religious services or visits from the clergy member of their choice at any reasonable time if it can be provided without disruption to care.
    • Such clergy members will not count as the patient’s visitor under the current visitor restriction guidelines.
    • The unit nurse manager must enter the specific name of the clergy member in Epic so the Safety Ambassadors, Guest Services, and others are aware.

Are patients allowed to bring children with them to their appointment?

Infants under the age of one year are allowed to accompany a parent to their parent’s appointment.

Can a patient’s family member or friend drop off items for the patient?

Items for the patient may be brought to the hospital Main Entrance or UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital main entrance for drop-off. The visitor dropping the items off will need to put items in a sealed plastic bag no larger than a grocery bag and write the patient’s name on the bag with a permanent marker. Staff will greet visitors outside these two main entrances to pick up items for delivery to the patient. If no staff are outside, the visitor may come inside to the Information Desk.

As an employee, can I visit a family member or friend who is in the hospital?

If you are an employee who has a loved one or friend in the hospital, you count as the one visitor/support person allowed per adult inpatient per day. As a reminder, all approved visitor names must be listed in Epic so all staff can reference.  If you are not the approved visitor listed in Epic, you are not permitted to visit the patient.

Where should the patient’s driver wait while at an outpatient appointment?

At UI Hospitals & Clinics, those driving the patient can park in any hospital parking ramp (first 30 minutes are free for visitors), or staff will guide them to complimentary parking in lots near the hospital. Parking Ramp 2 has free WiFi. At offsite clinics, drivers and other unapproved visitors will be asked to stay in their car to encourage social distancing until the patient is done with their appointment or procedure.

ThinkIowaCity provides more information on community locations that drivers and other unapproved visitors can visit during loved one’s appointments.

What’s the process for vendors or contractors entering the building?

Only approved vendors and contractors will be allowed in UI Health Care facilities. Vendors are also required to follow our face coverings guidelines, and they are screened following the same process as other visitors. 

Can a family member or caregiver join an appointment via phone?

For outpatients: If the patient chooses to have a loved one available by phone during the appointment, they may use their own phone or device to allow another person to listen during the clinic visit to take notes and speak with the provider.

Which clinics/locations perform procedures that would apply under these updated guidelines?

The majority of our procedures are done in these locations:

  • Adult Catheterization Lab
  • Pediatric Catheterization Lab
  • Digestive Health Center
  • LL2 Procedure Area of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital
  • UI Health Care–Iowa River Landing Procedure Suite
  • Interventional Radiology
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Labor and delivery
  • Urology
  • Oral Surgery
  • Eye Clinic
  • Psychiatric electroconvulsive therapy
Visitor restrictions flyer
Updated on 12/12/2022 at 10:21 am

Click to download as a pdf.

Arabic | French | Mandarin | Spanish | Swahili

Inpatient visiting hours flyer
Updated on 08/24/2022 at 8:00 am
Patient appointments within their COVID-19 isolation period
Updated on 02/03/2022 at 1:24 pm

View guidelines for patients with COVID-19 and appointments at UI Hospitals & Clinics within their isolation period.

Download flyers: Preventing the spread of COVID-19

Download: Patient education materials

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Safely Disinfect Breastmilk Containers at Home and Bring to the Hospital
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COVID-19 - Neonatal Information Sheet
Updated on 07/23/2020 at 7:58 am

Newborn Going Home with COVID-19 or with a Mom who has COVID-19

  • Babies infected or whose status is not known due to lack of testing, but with no symptoms of COVID-19, may be go home on a case-by-case basis. Your babies care team will teach you precautions to take. Follow-up contacts (either by phone, telemedicine, or in-office) will be scheduled through 14 days after birth.

Be sure to teach all people who will care for your baby about wearing a mask and gloves, and washing their hands.

People over the age of 60 and those with health conditions should not care for your baby if possible.

  • Babies with a negative COVID-19 test or who have never been exposed can go home when ready. A healthy (non-infected) person should care for baby.

If an exposed or positive mom is in the same house, she should try to stay at least 6 feet away from baby. When mom must be near baby, she needs to wash her hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If possible, she should also put on a face mask before caring for baby.

She should do this until:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first started and
  • She does not have a temperature of greater than or equal to 38.0° C (100.4° F) for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that lowers fevers
  • Other people who are being tested or have symptoms, should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and should also wear a mask if they can whenever they are within 6 feet of the baby.

Breastfeeding

Studies have not found the virus in breastmilk.

We strongly suggest mom pump breastmilk. First, they should wash their hands and breast. Then a healthy person can feed baby the milk.

Moms who want to breastfeed should wash their hands and breasts well and wear a mask. An infected mom could give baby the virus by contact when they are close during nursing but not through the breast milk.

When you get home:

  • Do not take your baby outside, except for health care
  • Do not take your baby to businesses, places of worship, or other public places
  • Do not use public transportation, ride sharing, or taxis

People: Keep baby in one room and away from other people in your home.  Do not have visitors.

Animals: Keep your baby away from pets while they are sick. Have someone else in your home care for your animals.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw used tissues in a lined trash can. Clean your hands right away.

If you do not have a tissue, hold your arm in front of your face. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Coughing into your elbow instead of your hand is safer. When you cough into your hand, the virus gets on your hand and is easier to spread.

Clean your hands often

  • Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you do not have soap and water, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover all parts of your or older sibling’s hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Soap and water are best if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Do not to touch eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

Do not share items in the home

Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed well with soap and water.

Clean all “high-touch” surfaces each day

High-touch surfaces are counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables. Clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe. Follow the label instructions for safe use.

Watch for symptoms

Get health care right away if your baby:

  • Has trouble breathing
  • Will not drink or breast feed
  • Does not have wet diapers often
  • Does not wake up
  • Has a fever

Call your baby’s doctor’s office and tell them your baby has been exposed to COVID-19 but can still be ill from other reasons. Keep a light sheet over your baby before going into the building and you should wear a mask. This will help the doctor’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting sick.

Discharge information for new parent recovering from COVID-19
Updated on 05/06/2020 at 12:47 pm

COVID-19 and Keeping Your Baby Safe After Delivery
Updated on 08/13/2020 at 7:39 am

Inpatient screening for COVID-19
Updated on 09/01/2022 at 9:27 am

Click to download as a pdf.

Visitor guidelines for inpatients with COVID-19 or PUIs
Updated on 12/06/2022 at 1:41 pm

Adult inpatient

Pediatric inpatient

View this policy on: PolicyTech

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How mRNA and viral vector vaccines work
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