What's Changed for Patients and Visitors?

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a serious threat. With each new variant, AHN closely monitors any uptick in cases and follows the guidance of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

To help slow the spread of the virus and keep our patients and staff as safe as possible, this often means limiting visitors in our hospitals and facilities or eliminating in-person events. For our latest guidelines, please closely review the information below.

Changes for patients and visitors

All guidelines below are current and take the place of any previously published patient and visitor information at all AHN hospitals, facilities, and offices.

AHN mask policy

Following the CDC’s guidance, AHN is requiring all patients, visitors, and care teams to wear surgical ear loop masks, at a minimum, within all AHN facilities. These masks provide the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants.

Thank you in advance for complying with this policy and doing your part to keep our care teams, patients, and communities safe.

AHN visitation guidelines

Patients can now have two visitors.

At this time, patients are allowed two visitors per day between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. — see exceptions listed below. The two visitors may be permitted in a patient’s room simultaneously, if space and social distancing permit. These visitors can switch out with another person(s) and must always follow the visitor rules.

Yes, these restrictions may seem frustrating, but protecting our patients and care teams is — and will always be — our number one priority. Because at AHN, it’s safety first. Always.

Visitor rules

All visitors are expected to:

  • Visit during set visitation hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (See exceptions below.)
  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Show valid ID when entering the hospital.
  • Be healthy and accept a COVID-19 screening.
  • Wear a mask at all times. Please bring your own, or one will be provided.
  • Stay within designated areas — either the patient’s room or specific waiting areas.

Visitor exceptions

We understand that some patients have unique needs, and we’ve done everything we can to accommodate those. For all circumstances listed, clergy visitation is allowed in addition to any noted visitors and support people below.

Visitation is allowed outside of the standard 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM window for these circumstances. Multiple visitors may also be permitted.

Labor and delivery

The visitation guidelines for obstetrical areas of AHN hospitals are designed to ensure the pregnant person in labor has all necessary support throughout the experience.

  • Two support people are permitted at the bedside (not including a doula, who is considered a member of the care team) throughout all phases of labor. 
  • If a C-section is scheduled or necessary, then one support person and the doula are permitted in the operating room as medically reasonable (if it’s medically necessary to limit the number of support people, our staff will explain why). 
  • One support person may stay with the patient and baby in the postpartum area 24 hours a /day — only those banded may be left alone with the baby at any point. 
  • If the support person who will be banded is positive for COVID-19: 
    • Only one support person will be permitted at the bedside. 
    • That support person MUST be asymptomatic. 
    • The hospital will provide appropriate PPE as needed.
    • The family unit will remain in the same room (as possible) to ensure no cross contamination throughout the units. 
    • The patient will only be paired with other COVID-positive + patients/families.

Neonatal intensive care units (NICU)

  • One set of parents, or guardians, can visit with a patient in a NICU or designated waiting area.

Patients under the age of 18

  • One set of parents, or guardians, can visit with a patient. 

End-of-life care

  • Two visitors can stay with a non-COVD-19 patient or in a designated waiting area.
  • One visitor can stay with a COVID-19 patient or in a designated waiting area.

Emergency department

  • Two visitors are allowed to wait in a designated area. These persons may be allowed in the patient’s room at the same time, but only when directed by hospital staff or if needed for support purposes as noted below.
    • Note: If patient or visitor volumes prevent proper social distancing, changes may be made, such as allowing one visitor at a time.

Surgery, outpatient diagnostic, and ambulatory services

  • Two visitors are allowed to wait in a designated area.
    • Note: If patient or visitor volumes prevent proper social distancing, changes may be made.

Support persons

  • Any patient with intellectual, development or cognitive disabilities, communication barriers or behavioral issues who needs an advocate or communicator to assist with the delivery of their care is entitled to have access to two support persons to provide this assistance.

Patients who are COVID-positive or COVID-suspected are allowed one visitor per day between the hours of 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM This visitor cannot switch out with another person and must always follow enhanced safety protocols. The decision to allow visitation for a COVID-positive and COVID-suspected patient will be at the discretion of the patient's care team to ensure visitor safety.

Enhanced safety protocols when visiting patients with COVID-19

Coronavirus and its variants continue to spread very easily. While masking and other precautions in the community have decreased, AHN must maintain strict safety precautions for our patients, staff, and visitors.

That’s why all patients with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis are placed in a specialized room that requires the doors to be closed. All staff and visitors entering the room must wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE).

If you’re visiting someone with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, you’ll be required to wear a gown, gloves, surgical mask, and face shield while in the patient’s room. Our AHN staff will provide this PPE and help you put it on, if needed.

Before leaving the room, you’ll remove and dispose of all PPE near the door, and you’ll be given a new surgical mask and hand sanitizer once you’ve exited. Please use the hand sanitizer first, and then put on the new surgical mask.

By following these steps, you do your part to help protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community.


Cafeteria policy

We're happy to announce that our hospital cafeterias have reopened to serve visitors.


Safety guidelines for all appointments

If you have an appointment with an AHN doctor at an office or outpatient facility, you may now bring one healthy support person with you.

Support person rules:

All support people are expected to:

  • Be over the age of 18.
  • Show valid ID when entering the facility.
  • Be healthy and accept a COVID-19 screening.
  • Wear a surgical-type, N95, or KN95 face mask at all times. Please bring your own, or one will be provided.
  • Stay within designated areas — either the patient’s room or specific waiting areas.

Our offices have heightened disinfecting and protection measures, but keep in mind that each space operates differently. Safety precautions may vary from one location to another and could change daily based on patient volume. Please work with us to help keep our patients and care teams safe.


Elective surgeries

AHN continues to move forward in a careful and structured manner to offer elective surgeries to our patients.


Classes and events

Virtual instruction is being offered for all AHN classes and many events have been moved to a virtual setting. We will continue to monitor the pandemic closely and only hold in-person gatherings when we feel it is safe.



AHN protocols, screening, and training

As of early February 2020, AHN has implemented its Pandemic Response Policy. This includes screening protocols established by CDC and DOH, care protocols, instructional signage for patients, screening questions for physicians in our health record system, and outreach to our pre-hospital care providers.

  • The enhanced screening processes are at all access points across the health network, including emergency departments, surgery centers, urgent care clinics, rehabilitation facilities, physician practices, home health services and internal employee health offices, and call centers, as well as through its 24/7 Nurse Line service.
  • Consistent CDC-recommended protocols have been implemented across AHN’s hospitals for the care of patients presenting to emergency departments with suspected respiratory infectious disease, including placement of the patient in negative pressure rooms and use of PPE (personal protective equipment) by all caregivers and visitors to the patient. Specimens are being collected according to recommended guidelines and sent to the CDC for COVID-19 testing.
  • Signage has been placed at the entrances to all emergency departments and in other AHN facilities asking patients to put on a protective mask upon arrival if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • Modifications have been made to Epic, AHN’s electronic health record system to incorporate screening questions based on current CDC guidelines at all points of intake for all patients.
  • AHN caregivers are being trained or retrained in the use of personal protective equipment and are being communicated to routinely, in writing and directly through their supervisors, about the importance of following the enhanced patient screening and care protocols.
  • AHN is working with both its employed pre-hospital care providers and local EMS service partners to promote the same enhanced patient screening protocols for home entries. We're doing the same for thousands of independent but affiliated physician practices in the western Pennsylvania region through its clinically integrated network.


Contact us

If you have any additional concerns, please contact our 24/7 Nurse Line at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348

Coronavirus vaccines, testing, and care

Stay protected, check symptoms, find a testing site, get care, view visitor guidelines, and more at AHN.

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