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.
  • Visitors will undergo daily screening.
  • Visitors are required to wear a mask at all times in our facilities and on our campuses.
  • Designated visitors who pass the daily screening will be given a color-coded wristband or a badge to quickly identify them as approved visitors for the day.
  • Non-compliance with requirements will disqualify a person from being approved as a visitor in the future.

Why are Duke hospitals allowing visitors now?

We recognize that patients’ loved ones are important members of their care team. For hospitalized patients, the presence of a family member or close friend is valuable to their recovery. Over the last several weeks, we have continually monitored the state’s phased re-opening and CDC recommendations and consulted with our infectious disease experts and other area health systems. The safety of our patients and team members remains our top priority, and we are making changes to our visitation policies only 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.

One visitor is 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 someone else as your one designated visitor for the duration of your admission. This person must be at least 18 years old and will be required to undergo screening each day and wear a mask at all times while at our facility.

Can I switch my designated visitor during my hospital stay?

Only one designated visitor for the length of stay is permitted unless special circumstances apply. For example, if your designated visitor 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 a new visitor each time you are admitted to the hospital.

Can my visitor 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. Visitors are also discouraged from leaving and re-entering the hospital during visiting hours.

Where does my visitor wait if I am taken to a lengthy surgery or procedure?

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

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.