Hospital ‘Guidelines’ for Visiting Patients

Joseph R. Anticaglia MD
Medical Advisory Board

There are certain guidelines that are helpful when visiting patients in the hospital. It doesn’t take much effort to be considerate and it can go a long way in making patients feel better. On top of everything, it just might hasten their recovery.

Hospital Courtesy:

  • Stay home if you’re sick!
  • Wash your hands just before and after your visit.
  • Always check in at the nursing station before visiting the patient.
  • Patients may be too tired, not up to receiving visitors or having a test or procedure being done. Find out if it’s OK to visit patient before you arrive.
  • Don’t overstay your visit. Limit your visit perhaps to 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Be good and friendly company. Keep your troubles out of the patient’s room.
  • Check on restrictions on binging food or other items to the patient’s bedside.
  • Respect the privacy and needs of other patients in the room. Some patients may be allergic to flowers.
  • Consider bringing get well cards (especially one made by a child), a book, a crossword puzzle or other items the patient might enjoy.
  • In general, avoid bringing children to the hospital.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • Know when not to telephone a patient in the hospital.
  • Keep your voice and the TV volume low.
  • Use family rooms for private conversations.
  • Designate one spokesperson to ask the staff for updates.
  • Thank the nurses for their help in caring for the patient.

Hospitals can be petri dishes for infections. Besides patients, both hospital workers, hospital surfaces and hospital visitors can transmit infections to you. The flip side is, of course, you can spread your infection to people in the hospital. Common courtesy while visiting patents can uplift a person’s feelings and cut down on the spread of infection.


  1. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Policy and Guidance for Visitors in Healthcare Settings
  2. NYU Langone Health; Updated Patient and Visitor Guidelines. February 2020

This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.