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Patients in receiving care in the inpatient unit (IPU) have the right to receive visitors and to designate an essential caregiver.

Patients and their representatives have the right to receive and restrict visitors, and to have unlimited contact with visitors when desired while in the Inpatient Unit (IPU).

When special circumstances require limited visitation, the organization will consider these rights and allow the essential caregiver and others to visit as specified in these visitation rights and responsibilities.

Visitation Rights

  1. Patients in the IPU and their representatives have the right to receive and restrict visitors, and to have unlimited contact with visitors, including infants and small children, when desired. Family and friends may visit patients in the inpatient unit (IPU) twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week.


  1. While special circumstances may require limiting the number of visitors and visiting hours, visitation rights will be honored to the best of the organization’s ability to ensure patients will not be left alone when they need the comfort of family and friends.


  1. Patients’ rights are respected and procedures are followed while patients, representatives or visitors remain in the inpatient unit (IPU) whether in the General IPU or in the COVID-19 unit. Visitations are limited only by the patient’s/representative’s personal preferences/request, by a physician’s order or by the unit’s management to protect the safety of patients, staff and others.


  1. Patients have the right to refuse to talk to persons not associated with the organization or not directly involved in the patient’s care including visitors, vendors, accreditation surveyors and representatives of community organizations. Staff may assist patients in restricting visitations, as requested or required, to allow the patient to be comfortable.


  1. Patients have the right to designate an essential caregiver who is a family member, friend, guardian, or other individual. This essential caregiver will be allowed to visit the patient in person, and in any circumstance, for at least two (2) hours daily in addition to any other visitation authorized. The essential caregiver status is for visitation purposes and does not require the caregiver to provide necessary care to the patient.


  1. Patients are allowed to have consensual physical contact with a visitor as long as the patient consents.


  1. In-person visitation in the following circumstances will only be limited by the patient’s objection:
    1. Patient is in an end-of-life situation.
    2. The patient was living with family prior to admission and is struggling with the change in environment and lack of in-person family support.
    3. The patient is making one or more major medical decisions.
    4. The patient is experiencing emotional distress or grieving the loss of a friend or family member who recently died.
    5. The patient needs cueing or encouragement to eat or drink which was previously provided by a family member or caregiver.
    6. The patient who used to talk and interact with others is seldom speaking.
    7. The patient is in hospital care. Please note that while hospice care continues in the hospital, Avow does not dictate visitation policies in that setting. Avow will coordinate with the hospital to plan patient visitation.
    8. The patient is a child in pediatric care.
  1. Appropriate space will be provided to allow patients to receive visitors in comfort and privacy. This includes overnight accommodations for up to two (2) family members or visitors.


  1. Patients’ have the right to opt out of the Inpatient Directory and to not have their information released to people who ask for them by name.


  1. The IPU supervisors will review any issues related to the visitation or complaints to ensure the patient’s rights are respected and the procedures are followed by patients, visitors, and staff.

Visitation Responsibilities

  1. Visitors must follow inpatient visitation procedures and rules for patients in the General IPU and in the COVID-19 IPU to ensure patients’ rights are respected and safety measures are followed.


  1. Visitors are expected to comply with infection control measures and safety practices while visiting, but will not be required to comply with safety-related policies and procedures that are more stringent than those established for staff and will not be required to submit proof of any vaccination or immunization.


  1. Visitors must follow organizational policies and procedures, safety protocols and guidelines including Avow Hospice’s Smoking Policy, as well as any rules and visitation hours communicated upon admission or at other times under certain circumstances.


  1. Visitors are expected to abide by the following rules during visitation at the IPU:
    1. Request staff permission prior to entering a patient’s room.
    2. Supervise children closely.
    3. Do not restrict staff’s access to the patient or limit the provision of care.
    4. Exhibit appropriate behavior while visiting. Visitors exhibiting behavior that is considered inappropriate by Avow Hospice staff may be asked to leave and may be prohibited from continued visits.
    5. Request overnight visitation to the inpatient staff and abide by the inpatient facility’s restrictions for overnight stays.
    6. Limit overnight accommodations to the patient’s room only. Areas outside the patient’s room are shared by all visitors and are not meant to be used as accommodations for overnight stays.
    7. Do not crowd the hallways or cause impending traffic that blocks areas necessary for walking and transporting.
    8. Follow Avow Hospice’s No Smoking Policy.
    9. Abide by the Pet Visitation Guidelines.
  2. Visitation responsibilities and any violations incurred will be communicated to the visitors and discussed. A visitor may be asked to sign a copy of these policies, rights and responsibilities in the event that violations remain unresolved and without assurances for future compliance, which may potentially result in limitations or suspension of future visitation privileges.

Additional Rules for COVID-19 Patients in the IPU

  1. Visitations are limited for the safety of patient/staff by the IPU management. Family members may visit patients in the IPU COVID-19 wing during set visiting hours, seven (7) days a week. The number of visitors is limited by IPU management for the safety of patients, staff and/or visitors. Specific rules for visitors and visiting hours for the unit will be communicated upon admission.


  1. Visitors are expected to comply with infection control measures and safety practices while visiting. Screening, personal protective equipment, and other infection control protocols for visitors will be communicated.


  1. In restricting the number of visitors, the essential caregiver must receive visiting priority.

A patient’s designated essential caregiver will be allowed to visit the patient in person for at least 2 hours daily. The essential caregiver is not required to provide necessary care to the patient.


  1. The patient will have appropriate space to receive visitors in comfort and privacy based on the IPU COVID-19 unit restrictions set by IPU management to ensure safety of patients/visitors/staff.


  1. If necessary, the IPU will obtain assurances that the visitor will follow safety measures by providing a written copy of the required measures to be followed and requesting signature.


  1. Staff will assist patients and HCS (Health Care Surrogate) or representative in restricting visitations, as requested or required, to allow the patient to be comfortable.


  1. Training on personal protective equipment must be completed prior to entering the COVID-19 unit. Personal Protective Equipment must be worn correctly at all times. Staff will train all visitors on how to don and doff Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will answer any questions they may have.


  1. Visits are only allowed during the times set by management to ensure the safety of the staff/patient/visitors. Visitation may further be restricted by provider order, except for the required visiting hours of a patient’s designated essential caregiver.


  1. Visitors are restricted to the patients room only. Common areas such as the kitchen, living rooms and lanais are not to be used at this time.

Visitation Complaints

For complaints regarding visiting with loved ones, notify any Avow staff member of your complaint and ask them to record it for submission, or you may submit the complaint directly in writing or by calling Avow’s main line at (239) 261-4404 and ask to file a complaint.  Submit a complaint through Avow’s website click here.

You may also contact the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) for further review and action online at www.ahca.myflorida.com/visitation.