Visitor Guidelines | Patient Visitor | Salem Health

Patient Guide
If you are experiencing flu-like or COVID-19 symptoms, call us at 503-814-0099 before visiting any of our locations. Learn more.

Visitor information and mask policy (updated Aug. 27, 2021)

These guidelines are based on Oregon Health Authority and CDC directives. This guide summarizes our current policy.

Aug. 27 UPDATE:

Masking mandate extends to outdoors
Effective Friday, Aug. 27, a  new rule will require people in Oregon to mask in most public outdoor settings — regardless of vaccination status — where physical distancing is not possible. The rule does not apply to “fleeting encounters” such as two people walking past each other on a sidewalk. Salem Health will require employees, providers, patients and visitors to wear a mask outside when it is not possible to physically distance.

Visitor restrictions have changed
Patients are now restricted to either one support person or one visitor. Only one person may be at the bedside at a time. In some cases (pediatric patients, end of life, etc.) exceptions may be made at the discretion of staff, according to our internal policies.

All support people and visitors must pass screening and follow our rules. Due to an increased number of unauthorized visitors, we are reinstating screening at the north entrance of Building B. 

Beginning Friday, Aug. 27, one screener will be posted at the north entrance of Building B weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. This entrance will be closed on the weekend and visitors will need to go through screening in the lobby of Building A. 

A visitor/support person will be issued a pass specific to the room they are visiting.
  • Multiple passes will not be issued.
  • The pass must be returned to a screening station before a second visitor will be issued the same pass and allowed to proceed to the patient room.
  • If a pass has been issued and a second visitor arrives before the pass has been returned, screening will call the floor to inform care staff. Care staff should then inquire with the patient informing them that the second individual will not be allowed up to the room until the current visitor/support person returns the pass. 
  • Preference will be given to support persons. Up to three individual support persons will be issued the pass, one at a time, per 24-hour day.
  • Only one visitor (non-support person) will be issued the pass per 24 hour day.

Screening criteria for visitors

All visitors and support persons must be screened in the lobby of Building A or Building B (weekdays only) before proceeding to visit a hospitalized patient. 

Exceptions — The following patients and their support persons will be screened as outlined below:

  • Surgical inpatients presenting for surgery will be screened at the surgery check-in desk.
  • Emergency Department patients will be screened in the emergency department.
  • Direct admission inpatients will be screened at the admission desk.
  • All outpatient patients (e.g., patients of offices in Building C) and their support persons will be screened at the outpatient office check-in area. For example, patients and support persons arriving at Salem Health Building A for imaging will be screened by the Imaging check-in staff.
All Women’s and Children’s Services patients, visitors and support persons will be screened at the respective unit’s entrance upon arrival. 

West Valley Hospital

The same procedures will be implemented at West Valley Hospital. Patients and visitors between the hours of 5:45 a.m. and 5 p.m. must complete screening at the hospital’s main entrance. Between 5 p.m. and 5:45 a.m., screening will occur at the emergency department entrance.

All locations

Anyone saying yes to any of the following will not be let in unless they are a guaranteed visitor:

  • Symptomatic of fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, and body aches
  • International travel within the last 14 days to CDC Level 3 risk countries with restrictions on entry into the US (red on map).
  • Currently being tested for COVID-19, or diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.
  • Contact outside of the hospital with known or suspected COVID-19 cases within the last 14 days.
  • Cruise ship travel within the last 30 days.
  • Age 12 or under, unless by special circumstance. (e.g., guaranteed visitors or nursing infant of hospitalized patient)
    • General exception is granted if child is accompanying patient to outpatient appointment in Building C. Please alert clinic if bringing more than two guests age 12 or under.

All visitors must comply with mask use and proper hand hygiene, PPE stewardship, and not wander around. Visitors are allowed to use bathrooms and patronize dining facilities.

COVID positive/pending patients

If patient is COVID positive or pending, we generally do not allow visitors.

However, the care team can make a case-by-case exception if they believe there is enough PPE available organizationally, and the visit can be done safely (acceptable risk level). To request an exception, ask to speak to the unit manager.

Psychiatric Medicine Center patients

No visitors are allowed at the Psychiatric Medicine Center. Patients are screened upon arrival.

Labor and delivery patients

Patients being cared for in labor and delivery during delivery are allowed two visitors. In special cases involving surrogacy deliveries, visitor limit may be expanded to three to allow for intended parents and patient’s support person.

All other patients

All patients (except COVID positive/pending, see above) are allowed one visitor per day.

There are no special restrictions on these visitors, as long as they follow the rules and pass screening.

If there is a situation in which multiple visitors are approved for a patient, the patient (or authorized decision maker if the patient can’t make their own decisions) will select which visitors will be allowed, up to the limit.

Guaranteed visitors

The following are guaranteed visitation, even if they can’t pass the screening criteria, as long as they follow the above rules and the unit leadership does not believe the visitor poses an unacceptable safety risk:

  • Immediate family of end-of-life patients.
  • Parents/guardians of pediatric patients.
  • Caregivers or attendants of patients who require special assistance (i.e. language barrier; communication; assistance with patient’s disability whether physical, mental, developmental or behavioral). Caregivers and attendants who can assist the patient with treatment, help with patient and staff safety, or help with ADLs also fall in this category.

Appeals, complaints, clarifications

If you feel you have been unfairly restricted from visiting, please contact our Patient Advocates.

People who can not visit are encouraged to connect with their loved ones by using technology. Patients and visitors should consider a video visit with SkypeZoomFaceTime, etc., or connecting over social media. Due to HIPAA guidelines, video and live streaming during a delivery or any other medical/surgical procedure is prohibited.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.

For the latest information about COVID-19 response and policies at Salem Health, visit our COVID-19 page

Mask policy

The recent changes to the masking guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and the Oregon Health Authority exempted health care settings. Therefore, at this time, there is no change to the requirement that all employees, patients and visitors must wear hospital-provided masks upon entry into all Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics locations. 

Q: Who is required to wear a mask?

A: Everyone over age 5:

  • Employees
  • Visitors
  • Patients
  • Vendors
  • Contractors
  • Medical staff members

Q: When do I need to wear a mask?

A: Masks are to be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors, at all locations and on all property owned and operated by Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics.

Cloth or homemade masks are not allowed, except when you’re making your way from your car to the facility entrance. We’ll give you a mask to change into when you arrive.

Masks may only be removed if:

  • You are outdoors AND physically distant (> 6 ft). For the purposes of this policy, the parking garages are considered outdoors. Masks must be worn at screening.
  • You are actively eating/drinking AND physically distant (> 6 ft.). This exception does not apply during in-person meetings.
  • In cubicles, and private offices AND physically distant (> 6ft.)
  • A patient is alone in their private patient room. Patients in multiple occupancy patient rooms must be physically distant (> 6ft.) before removing their mask
  • Care being provided to the patient cannot be rendered with the patient masked (i.e. during intubation, speech therapy, temperature checks, etc.)
  • Wearing a mask or face shield causes significant negative clinical implications (i.e. respiratory compromise, provokes nausea/vomiting, etc.)
  • Patient is incapable of wearing a mask or face shield due to their mental or physical condition (i.e. autism, dementia, etc.)

Q: What if I don’t want to wear a mask?

A: Unmasked people over 5 years of age are not allowed on Salem Health property. If you refuse to wear a mask, you will be required to leave.

We have allowed for certain exceptions as required by law. If you believe you should be exempt from our mask policy, contact our patient advocates.


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