Visitor Guidelines | Patient Visitor | Salem Health
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Visitor information and mask policy (updated June 13, 2022)

At Salem Health, we know it is important to be near loved ones when they are in the hospital. The rules below are based on directions from the Oregon Health Authority and CDC. We are doing our best to keep patients, visitors, and staff safe during these unusual times. We ask that every visitor follow these rules in every Salem Health building. 


Current visitor and support person guidelines:

All visitors and support people must pass screening and follow hospital safety rules. Visits may not be allowed if there are safety concerns during procedures.

Patients with a qualifying disabilities may have one of their identified support people at their bedside. A support person does not count as a visitor. A support person assists patients with disabilities who are admitted to the hospital or are in the emergency department and need help with the following:

  • Communicating
  • Making health care decisions
  • Understanding health care information
  • Engaging in daily living activities

All patients may have one visitor at a time. If the patient has a support person already present, they may also have one visitor at the same time.

Right now, children 12 and under are not allowed to visit. FaceTime and Skype are popular options for those who can’t visit in person.

In some cases (pediatric patients, end of life, etc.) exceptions may be made at the discretion of hospital staff, according to internal policies.

Visitor safety rules:

  • A visitor/support person will be issued a pass after successfully completing screening. Visitor pass must be worn and visible.
  • Masks provided by the hospital must be worn covering mouth and nose at all times, including in the patient’s room while visiting.
  • Visitors may not eat or drink in a patient’s room.
  • Visitors must observe physical distancing of at least six (6) feet between themselves and others whenever possible.
  • Before entering and after leaving patient’s room, visitors must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Visitors must go directly to the room or unit they are visiting. Do not linger in common areas or waiting rooms unless directed by hospital staff to do so. At the end of the visit, visitors must leave the building and go directly to their car. Bathroom visits and visits to dining facilities are allowed.

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 allowed entry:

  • Symptomatic of fever, sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, and body aches.
  • International travel within the last 14 days.
  • Currently being tested for COVID-19 due to an actual or potential exposure, or diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.
  • Exposed to COVID-19 within the past 14 days and have not yet met criteria for removal of quarantine or isolation. (Contact Infection Prevention for clarification if needed).
  • Age 12 or under, unless by special circumstance (e.g. end of life visitation, is breastfeeding infant and mother is hospitalized)
    • General exception is granted if a child is accompanying the patient to outpatient appointment. Please alert clinic if patient is bringing more than 2 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

We do not allow visitors for COVID-19 positive patients (or COVID pending) with an AGP.

Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis by the care team, based on safety considerations and organizational availability of PPE, with some special considerations outlined in the Visitation Guidelines .

Psychiatric Medicine Center patients

A visitor may be invited to the treatment team meeting for discharge planning, as needed. Visitor must complete screening at screening station and obtain colored badge. Visitor must wear mask.

Labor and delivery patients

Patients in Labor and Delivery and the Mother Baby Unit are allowed two people at a time. For surrogacy deliveries the limit may be expanded to three visitors to allow for intended parents and the gestational carrier’s visitor or support person.

All other patients

All patients are allowed one visitor at a time (some exceptions apply, see COVID positive/pending section above).

All visitors and support persons must follow hospital safety rules and pass screening. 

  • Visitation may be temporarily suspended for safety concerns during procedures.
  • Visitors/support persons are asked to please limit movement within the hospital and remain in the patient’s room when possible. Bathroom visits and visits to dining facilities are allowed.
  • Visitors will be screened and may have their temperature taken prior to being allowed to visit. If they do not pass the screening process, they may not be allowed to visit.
  • Visitor must wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) while in facility and patient room and follow safety instructions:
    • Hand hygiene: before entering a patient room and after leaving a patient room, all individuals shall wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or clean hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Use of good respiratory etiquette: covering coughs and sneezes with the elbow and proper use and disposal of tissue.
    • Eating and drinking in the patient’s room is not allowed. In certain circumstances support persons may be granted an exception. Please speak to your care team members if you feel an exception is needed.
    • Avoid touching your own face.
    • Visitors must follow Salem Health mask policy during visit (see below for specific details).

Failure to adhere to guidelines may lead to removal from premises and revocation of visitation privileges

Special consideration

The following are given special consideration for visitation 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.