Important Information

To ensure the safety of our patients, staff, physicians and visitors, Methodist Healthcare will continue to practice proven tactics for controlling the spread of COVID-19, including universal masking and screening of all staff and visitors. Our processes will not change with Governor Abbott’s lifting of the state mask mandate, which takes effect on Wednesday, March 10.

If you will be receiving care at one of our surgery centers, then please review our surgery center visitor policy instead.

Visitor guidelines and risk screening for COVID-19

Visitation procedures are designed for the safety of all patients and employees in the interest of limiting exposure to respiratory illness and containment of the COVID-19 virus.

Upon entry to the building, all visitors, including vendors, will be screened for respiratory symptoms, exposure to COVID-19, and travel. All visitors and hospital personnel entering the facility, must follow Universal Masking criteria.

Emergency room patients

At this time, 1 visitor is permitted in the emergency room and waiting areas.

Admitted patients

At this time, 1 visitor is permitted for any adult patients who have been admitted to the hospital. Patients of Methodist Children’s Hospital will be permitted 2 adult caregivers to accompany a patient.

Procedural or elective surgery patients

Both inpatient and outpatient surgical and procedural patients may have 1 designated adult visitor throughout the duration of a procedure and during the discharge process.

If the patient is admitted (or is an inpatient) following the procedure, the designated visitor will be permitted to escort the patient to the inpatient area.

OB and NICU patients

OB patients delivering a baby are allowed one visitor as a support person.

Our NICU patients are also allowed one visitor as a support person.

Visitation restrictions will remain flexible in the interest of the family and special needs situations.

Visitors must:

  • Be at least 10 years of age (inpatient exception only for minors)
  • Have no close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • Have no signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (all visitors must be screened upon entry for symptoms and fever, following the current screening process)
  • Wear a mask at all times, in and outside the patient room. Visitors who refuse to comply will be escorted from the facility. Visitors will not be permitted to gather in hallways or other common areas of the facility for prolonged periods of time.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines at all times. Visitors who refuse to comply will be escorted from the facility.

COVID-19 positive or potentially COVID-19 positive patients

COVID-19 positive patients and potentially COVID-19 positive patients may be permitted to have visitors once evaluated to determine risk for transmission. Brief and limited visitation will be granted for patients who are at lower risk for transmitting COVID-19. Alternative communication tools like tablets and phones will continue to be an alternative means of visiting with COVID-19 positive or potentially positive patients while under our care.

  • Visitation will be evaluated on an individual basis to limit the risk of exposure to others except in exceptional and unusual situations. All exception requests should be escalated to the house supervisor for further communication and decisions by the senior team.
  • Alternative communication tools are encouraged for visiting with family and friends (tablets, phones, etc.)
  • Exceptions to the visitor policy for COVID-19 positive or potentially COVID-19 positive patients may be exercised to allow access to clergy at a patient’s request or if the patient is at the end of life.

Exclusion criteria

The following COVID-19 positive or potentially positive patients are not eligible for visitation:

  • The patient requires high-risk aerosol generating procedures/therapies (AGPs) like BiPAP, and frequent bedside bronchoscopies as a part of their care.
  • The patient is within the first ten days of critical illness.
  • The patient is combative or exhibits behavior concerns that are not conducive to safe visitation.

Exceptions to visitation guidelines

Exceptions to the restricted visitation guidelines may be made in cases of palliative care, vulnerable patient populations, or other identified ethical circumstances in recognition of the mission of Methodist Healthcare.

Visitation restrictions should remain flexible in the interest of the family and special needs situations such as the following:

  • The patient is at end of life.
  • Access to clergy at the patient’s request
  • The patient is considered to meet the criteria for a vulnerable population.
  • Family presence promotes the patient’s well-being and/or care.
  • Family/visitor is departing for military deployment.
  • Laboring mothers or pediatric/NICU patients

Process for safe visitation

  • The clinical team will evaluate all requests for visitation on a case-by-case basis. The visitor will be contacted to review instructions prior to visitation upon approval.
  • Facilities may elect to set up specific visitation times, and to set limits for visitation duration. Visits should be brief, and should not impact care delivery to the patient.
  • Visitor screening:
    • Only one designated visitor will be allowed for visitation. Visitors should not be rotated, or change throughout the day.
    • Visitor must be age 18 or older.
    • Have no known close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days
    • Have no signs or symptoms of lower respiratory illness (per screening guidelines)
    • A member of the clinical team will consult with the visitor about contraindications to visitation like immunocompromised status, high-risk category, etc.
    • Visitors will be notified of requirement to sign an attestation assuming risks of visitation.
  • Visitation expectations:
    • Visitor will be provided a level one mask, and will be escorted to the unit or patient’s room by a facility staff member. Items brought into the unit and the patient’s room are limited.
    • Once visitor is in the unit, in addition to the level one mask, visitor will be provided with a face shield, and gown.
      • Visitor will sign the COVID-19 Visitation Attestation.
      • Visitor will have a staff member assist with putting on PPE, and perform hand hygiene.
    • Patients who are not on mechanical ventilation and can tolerate doing so, will wear a mask during visitation.
    • Visitors will be coached on:
      • A plan for communicating when he or she is ready to exit the room, as well as not exiting the room or removing PPE before a staff member is present
    • Staff will escort visitor to the hospital exit.

Circumstances may allow for specific exceptions to any visitation restrictions described on this webpage. Those circumstances include religious visitation as well as a designated support person for a patient with a disability to provide assistance with communication or other necessary components of the patient’s treatment. All persons entering under an exception remain subject to appropriate infection control protocols.