Hospital Visitation Policy

Collage of all four UTMB Health Campuses

Hospital Visitation PolicyUpdated September 14, 2023

UTMB Health provides a caring environment and recognizes the importance of visitation to our patients, their families and friends. Our guidelines are designed to balance the benefits of visitation for the patient; needs associated with providing care; and the health, safety and security of patients, visitors and employees.

Each patient has the right to receive the visitors he or she designates, including but not limited to a spouse, a domestic partner, a family member or friend. Visitation privileges are not restricted, limited or otherwise denied on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

The type and number of visitors present may be reasonably restricted or limited by staff as clinically necessary; this will be communicated to the patient. The patient’s condition, the type of patient care unit, safety and privacy are some of the factors considered in this determination.

The measures outlined below apply to all UTMB Health facilities:

Visitation Policy

  • Visitation During Winter Flu Season (in effect from October through March)

    Restrictions For Child Visitors

    • Neonatal ICU: From October through March, children under 8 years of age shall not be allowed to visit newborns except under exceptional circumstances (will require approval by nurse or physician).
    • Mother-Baby Unit, Labor and Delivery, High Risk OB and Nurseries: Brothers and sisters of the baby shall be allowed to visit so long as they are not experiencing any respiratory symptoms or fever. All other children under 8 years of age are not allowed to visit regardless of whether they have symptoms.
    • General Pediatric Unit and Pediatric ICU: Any child with a respiratory illness will not be allowed to visit. Exceptions for mildly ill brothers and sisters may be allowed by the unit nurse or physician with use of PPE and other infection control measures.
    • Adult Units: Children under 8 years of age will not be allowed to visit a patient, regardless of symptoms unless under exceptional circumstances (will require approval by a nurse).

    Restrictions For Parent/Family Caregiver Of The Patient

    Confirmed or suspected Influenza (Flu): Parent/family caregiver who has the flu should avoid close contact with the patient until the following conditions have been met:

    • Must have received antiviral medications for 48 hours.
    • Fever has fully resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication like Tylenol
    • Must follow additional procedures when visiting or caring for the infant (see below).
    • Exceptions to this restriction under exceptional circumstances will need physician approval.

    Upper Respiratory Infection

    Parent/family caregivers with any upper respiratory viral illness or flu (flu patients must meet the above conditions under “Confirmed or Suspected Influenza”) may visit the patient by adhering to the following procedures:

    • Washing hands
    • Putting on a gown and gloves
    • Wearing a face mask

    Screening Of Visitors During Winter Flu Season

    1. Neonatal ICU, Mother-Baby Unit, Labor and Delivery, High Risk OB and Nurseries: All visitors and parents/family caregivers will be screened for respiratory illness by the unit front desk staff.
      • In the NICU, visitation is further restricted, so that only four people (specified by the mother and in addition to her identified support figure holding the second baby bracelet) may visit the baby.
    2. General Pediatric Unit and Pediatric ICU: All visitors will be alerted via notice at the unit entrance to self-screen for respiratory illness and to speak with the unit nurse, if necessary, for guidance.
    3. Adult Units: All visitors will be alerted via notices at hospital entrances and near patient care areas to self-screen for respiratory illness and to speak with the unit nurse, if necessary, for guidance.
    4. Respiratory Symptoms: Visitors with any of the following symptoms will not be allowed to visit unless approved by the unit nurse:
      • Cough
      • Nasal congestion
      • Runny nose
      • Sore throat
      • Fever
  • Visitor Guidelines

    • All visitors are requested but not required to wear face masks provided by UTMB while in hospital areas.
    • All visitors must be healthy and free of fever and/or respiratory symptoms.
      All visitors should be free from recent exposure to infectious diseases and without fever or visible signs of illness. During times of infectious outbreak in the community (e.g., flu, measles, mumps, chicken pox, COVID-19, etc.), the Department of Healthcare Epidemiology may recommend restrictions on visitation. Visitors to patients in isolation are subject to isolation guidelines and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements.
    • All visitors are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate and courteous manner.
    • UTMB is a non-smoking institution, and smoking is prohibited at any UTMB facility.
    • Visitors under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult other than the patient. In some units and during times of higher infection risks, additional precautions or restrictions are in place for visiting minors (see below).
  • After-Hours Access and Overnight Visitors

    • Overnight visitation is allowed at the discretion of the unit charge nurse based on patient need and/or request. Visitors of patients may be authorized to remain in public waiting areas overnight by the unit charge nurse.
    • Staff at the reception desk will issue a visitor pass for visitors entering the hospital between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and record the visitor’s name and destination. All visitors should check with the patient’s nurse for additional standards or restrictions specific to an area or patient.
  • Visitation for COVID Patients

    • One designated healthy adult (age 18 years or older) will be allowed a 30-minute visit per day.
    • The specific visitation time will be scheduled through the patient’s bedside nurse ahead of the visit. (These visits will be scheduled between the hours of 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.)
    • The visitor must wear appropriate PPE, supplied by UTMB:
      • Two (2) medical face masks or a KN-95 mask covering the mouth and nose, a gown and gloves.
    • NOTE: Under exceptional circumstances, an attending physician may place an order NOT to allow visitation on specific days, such as when a patient is undergoing multiple invasive treatment procedures or if there is a shortage of appropriate PPE.
    • Visitation of COVID-positive pediatric patients:
      • In the General Pediatrics Unit and Pediatric ICU, patients may have two (2) designated primary caregivers with them at any given time.
      • No other visitors are allowed.
      • The designated caregiver for COVID-positive pediatric patients must remain in the patient’s room. If the caregivers must leave the room, they must don a medical face mask while visiting other areas of the hospital.
  • UTMB Clinic Visitation Guidelines

    UTMB Health clinics welcome visitors. The type and number of visitors present in the exam or procedure room may be restricted or limited by staff as clinically necessary to facilitate care and ensure patient privacy.

    Get additional information about visiting clinics, masking requirements, appointments and more.

View UTMB Health's full institutional visitation policy.