Frequently Asked Questions About Visitor Restrictions

What visitor requirements are in place?

  • Visitors must show a form of photo identification upon arrival at the hospital. Entry will not be denied without it.
  • Visitors will undergo daily screening.
  • Visitors are required to wear a mask at all times in our facilities and on our campuses.
  • Non-compliance with requirements will disqualify a person from being approved as a visitor in the future.

Why is Duke Health modifying its visitation policy?

We recognize that patients’ loved ones are important members of their care team. For hospitalized patients, the presence of a family member or close friends is valuable to their recovery. We continually monitor CDC recommendations and consult with our infectious disease experts. The safety of our patients and team members is our top priority. We make changes to our visitation policies to the extent that we feel confident we can maintain that commitment.

What are the age requirements for visitors?

One visitor is allowed to accompany each patient in an outpatient clinic setting. This visitor must be over the age of 12.

Two visitors are allowed to accompany each adult patient in an inpatient setting. This visitor must be over the age of 18.

Two parent/guardian visitors are allowed to accompany each patient in a pediatric area of the hospital. These visitors must be over the age of 18.

What are the visiting hours for Duke hospitals?

Visiting hours are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm every day. Visiting hours do not apply to visitors in pediatric areas, the emergency department, laboring mothers, and mothers who have given birth.

What if my visitor refuses to wear a mask?

Our universal masking policy is mandatory and is designed to keep everyone safe from the risk of infection spread. If necessary, we will engage hospital security to ensure compliance.

If I am admitted, does the person with me have to be my designated visitor for my admission?

No. When you are admitted, you can select two people as your designated visitors for the duration of your admission. These designated visitors must be at least 18 years old and are required to undergo screening each day and wear masks at all times while at our facility.

Can I switch my designated visitor during my hospital stay?

Only two designated visitors for the length of stay are permitted unless special circumstances apply. For example, if one of your designated visitors becomes ill, or can no longer visit, you can select a different person as a replacement. You cannot switch back to the original visitor at a later date. Pediatric inpatients may have two designated parent/guardian visitors.

If I am admitted to the hospital again, do I have to choose the same designated visitor as before?

No. You can designate new visitors each time you are admitted to the hospital.

Can my visitors leave my hospital room to go to the cafeteria?

Yes. Designated visitors may leave to go to the cafeteria; however, they are discouraged from unnecessary travel throughout the facility and are not allowed to wait in the lobby or waiting rooms. Visitors are also discouraged from leaving and re-entering the hospital during visiting hours.

Where do my visitors wait if I am taken to a lengthy surgery or procedure?

You may have two designated visitors on the inpatient unit. If you are already in a single-occupancy inpatient room, your visitors may wait in the inpatient room while you are having surgery during visitor hours. Surgical updates will be communicated via text message to the visitors and the surgeon will call post-operatively.

Can I leave the unit to go to the cafeteria or on a short walk with or without my designated visitors?

For everyone’s safety and to prevent the spread of infection, patients must remain on their assigned unit unless medically necessary and they are escorted by the appropriate medical personnel. Patients who leave the unit and travel past the security checkpoint will be considered discharged against medical advice and may not return to their previously assigned unit. They will have to visit the hospital emergency department for any needed medical screening and treatment.