Equal Visitation Sample Policies
The following excerpts from healthcare organizations' visitation policies meet the HEI Equal Visitation criterion. Many facilities go above and beyond explicitly noting that patients may designate the visitor(s) of their choice and prohibiting discrimination in visitation based on sexual orientation or gender identity. To further alleviate worries held by LGBTQ patients and families, hospitals often make an explicit reference to equal visitation for same-sex couples and same-sex parents. In addition, it is a best practice for facilities to include an explicitly LGBTQ-inclusive definition of “family,” or link to or make direct reference to such a definition in the visitation policy.
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (Atlantic City, NJ)
This equal visitation policy clearly indicates that patients have the right to designate a visitor of their choosing, along with alleviating LGBTQ-specific worries by including “same-sex partner” in the list of those who might visit, and finally through a non-discrimination statement that includes both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
It is the policy of AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) to promote patient and family-centered care while providing a therapeutic environment for patients and a safe environment for patients, family, visitors, and staff.
ARMC will provide notice to patients or their Support Persons (where appropriate) of their visitation rights, including the right to receive, subject to the patient’s consent, visitors designated by the patient, including but not limited to a spouse, civil union partner, domestic partner (including a same sex partner), another family member, or a friend. The notice must also advise of the patient’s right to withdraw or deny consent at any time either orally or in writing. The provision of notice will be documented in the medical record.
ARMC will not restrict, limit, or deny visitation privileges based on race, skin color, age, national origin, ancestry, nationality, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or disability. All visitors enjoy full and equal visitation privileges consistent with patient privileges and the limitations set forth in this policy.
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia, PA)
This is shorter equal visitation policy that clearly indicates that patients have the right to designate a visitor of their choosing, along with alleviating LGBTQ-specific worries by specifically including “same-sex partner” in the list of those who might visit, and finally through a non-discrimination statement that includes both “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
In support of each patient’s rights, the hospital allows patients to receive visitors that the patient designates including, but not limited to, a spouse, domestic partner (including a same sex domestic partner), family members, or a friend, for emotional support during the course of his/her stay. Patients are able to withdraw or deny such consent at any time. TJUH prohibits discrimination against visitors based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Visitors designated by the patient (or support person, where appropriate) do not have to be legally related to the patient and shall enjoy visitation privileges that are no more restrictive than those that immediate family members would enjoy.
Children’s Mercy Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)
This equal visitation policy specifically addresses the worries LGBTQ families have when visiting their children. By including a broad definition of “family,” this policy welcomes LGBTQ families in addition to other diverse families.
Purpose: To define the expectations for persons visiting hospitalized patients, recognizing our commitment to non-discrimination and providing access without regard to race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, marital status, citizenship, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and/or other legally protected classification at all Children’s Mercy inpatient locations.
- Children’s Mercy promotes and supports a patient and family centered approach to care delivered in a context sensitive to the importance of relationships.
- Children’s Mercy recognizes the importance of contact with family members and friends for the mental and physical well-being of patients.
- For purposes of visitation “family” means any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual’s life. This may include person(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of “family” include:
- Spouses, domestic partners, partners in civil union and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
- Minor patient’s parents, regardless of the gender of either parent.
- Parents may be legal parents, foster parents, same-sex parents, step-parents, those serving in loco parentis, and other persons operating in caretaker roles.
- The PICU, ICN and Fetal Health Center unit specific visitation policies do not restrict visitors based on race, color, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, marital status, citizenship, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and/or other legally protected classification.