End of Life Visitor Guidelines

The purpose of this communication is to define visitation practices for end of life situations.

General Considerations

  • Visitor screening guidelines must be met prior to entering the hospital.
    • All visitors will be screened for symptoms, exposure, and travel history related to COVID-19.
    • Visitors will be asked to leave the facility if they have had symptoms or any known exposure(s) in the last 14 days.
  • Permitted visitors include the immediate family, e.g., spouse, children, significant other, guardian.
  • No more than three (3) immediate family members will be allowed in the patient room at one time.
    • Immediate family members may alternate so that other family members can visit the patient.
    • Immediate family members not in the patient room must wait in designated space determined by the facility.
  • Visitors must wash their hands or use hospital-provided hand sanitizer both before and after leaving rooms and hospital buildings

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • To enter the patient room, immediate family must don PPE as appropriate to the patient’s current Infection Control precautions.
    • If the patient is intubated, PPE includes gown, N95 mask, goggles or face shield, and gloves.
    • If the patient is not intubated, PPE includes gown, isolation mask, goggles or face shield, and gloves.
  • A nurse must watch visitors don and doff PPE and assist as needed.
  • Staff must collect and clean PPE per protocol and collect N95 masks for reprocessing.

Hospice Consultation

  • Hospice consultation/conversations with family members should occur by phone call or by face-to-face visit with appropriate PPE attire in each unit’s specific location.


  • Each unit must identify a specific location in which end of life discussions with family members will occur (within or near the unit).
  • If appropriate to patient’s clinical status and wishes, immediate family in the patient room may utilize personal cell phone/technology to connect patient with other family members.


  • Click here to access a PDF of COVID Communication Skills: A Playbook of VitalTalk Tips, which offers practical advice for health professionals having hard conversations with patients and families related to COVID-19
March 31, 2020

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