SVMC Loosens Visiting Guidelines
Administrator Account
/ Categories: NEWS, 2020

SVMC Loosens Visiting Guidelines

BENNINGTON, VT—July 2, 2020—Starting Monday, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), allowed adult hospital inpatients to have one visitor and pediatric inpatients to have two. 

“We know that recovering from an illness, an injury, or a surgery is a little easier when patients have the people they love nearby,” said Trey Dobson, MD, SVMC’s chief medical officer. “We want to allow visitors as much as we can while keeping our patients, staff, and visitors safe.”

The one-visitor policy applies to all inpatients with few exceptions:

  • Patients nearing the end of life may have multiple visitors, up to two at a time.
  • Patients who have a disability may have both a family or friend caregiver, who is necessary for their care, and a visitor.
  • Partners and spouses of expectant and recently delivered mothers are welcome 24 hours a day. Others, including siblings of newborns, may not visit at this time.
  • Pediatric inpatients may have up to two primary caregivers.

The policy for outpatient care has not changed since initial restrictions were initiated in early March to decrease the effects of COVID-19.

  • Adult outpatients should attend appointments alone, unless physical or cognitive support is needed. Outpatients who need a caregiver may bring one, provided that person is symptom-free.
  • Prenatal appointments may be attended by both the patient and one caregiver. Others, including children of expectant families, should not attend appointments.
  • Pediatric patients in the outpatient setting may have one adult caregiver with them.
  • Visitation to the Emergency Department is limited to one individual.

Both inpatients and outpatients who would benefit from additional support during a visit or stay should request the use of technology to bring important family and friends virtually into exam and hospital rooms.

Everyone—patients, caregivers, and visitors—is required to stop at the check-in desk located near the hospital and Medical Office Building entrances.

  • All are expected to arrive wearing a mask or face covering. Those who do not have a mask will be provided one. All masks must be worn for the entire duration of the visit. Those who do not comply will be asked to leave the premises.
  • Patients who are symptomatic or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be provided with a medical-grade face mask.
  • Caregivers and visitors with symptoms of any kind and those who have had contact with someone positive for or suspected of having COVID-19 are not permitted at this time.
  • All non-staff persons entering an SVMC building will be given a sticker marked with the date and department they are visiting and are asked to keep the sticker visible and remain in the area of service for the entire time they are in the building.
  • Everyone is expected to sanitize their hands upon entry and exit from the building, units, and patient rooms.

“SVHC has provided safe, high-quality care throughout the pandemic,” said Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, Southwestern Vermont Health Care’s (SVHC) president and CEO. “We are open and ready to provide all of our services, and we are doing so safely and as comfortably as possible.”

Patients with cough or shortness of breath or any two of the following—fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell—should contact their primary care provider or the COVID-19 Informational Hotline at 802-440-8844 before arriving to either their provider’s office or the hospital. For a detailed list of safety protocols, frequently asked questions, visitor guidelines, and COVID-19 information, visit

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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