Healthcare Privacy

VA Salt Lake City Health Care

Find VA policies on privacy and patient rights, family rights, visitation, and more.

Before visiting a patient at a VA facility, review these guidelines: 

Visiting hours
To honor the wishes of the Veterans we serve, we have a 24/7 open visiting schedule. You’re welcome to visit patients at any time, unless our physicians or nurses need to limit access because of concerns about patient care or other Veterans’ rights and safety. We also allow patients to have a friend or family member with them for emotional support during their hospital stay. 

Number of visitors
The number of visitors and the amount of time they’re allowed to spend with patients is at the nursing staff’s discretion.

Visits from clergy
If you’re a member of the clergy, you’re welcome to visit patients who belong to your religious group at any time, at the discretion of the unit physicians or nurses.

Visiting patients with special needs
Our inpatient psychiatry unit and the Veterans it serves have special needs. To support the unit’s therapeutic structure and environment, we encourage you to visit between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. MT. 

Our substance abuse treatment unit also has special therapies that work best if visits take place on Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. The treatment team will work with you to arrange visits at other times as long as they meet the health care needs of the patient and other Veterans in the unit.

You may visit patients at their bedside, in the unit lounge, the lobby of any patient care building, the canteen, or outside on the grounds.

Respecting patient privacy
To ensure patient privacy and confidentiality, our doctors or nurses may ask visitors to leave the room during examinations, treatments, or discussions with our staff.

Controlling infection
If you are ill, you should wait until your health improves before visiting friends or family at the medical center.

Bringing flowers and gifts
You’re welcome to bring or send flowers to patients, except those in intensive care and oncology units. Mylar gift balloons are also welcome. Latex balloons, which can cause allergic reactions, are not allowed anywhere in the hospital.

Bringing children to appointments
Children may come with their parents or grandparents to primary care or specialty care appointments. If the appointment includes a personal examination or test that will separate the child from the parent or grandparent (like X-rays or gastrointestinal procedures), then the adult should arrange childcare instead. No childcare services are available in the medical center or at any of our community-based outpatient clinics. 

Bringing animals to visit
We don’t allow personal pets in the medical center, unless there are unusual circumstances and the hospital director gives special permission for a pet to visit a patient. We do allow patients to visit with service dogs and other animals from formal programs that sponsor animal-assisted therapy or activities. All visiting animals must be kept on a short leash and have proof of rabies vaccination. Our staff will show patients where they can visit with animals. 

VA general visitation policy

The medical center respects the patient’s right to make decisions about his or her care, treatment and services, and to involve the patient’s family in care, treatment, and services decisions to the extent permitted by the patient or surrogate decision-maker. 

“Family” is defined as a group of two or more persons united by blood, or adoptive, martial, domestic partnership, or other legal ties. The family may also be a person or persons not legally related to the individual (such as significant other, friend or caregiver) whom the individual considers to be family. A family member may be the surrogate decision-maker, as defined in VHA Handbook 1004.02, if authorized to make care decisions for the individual, should he or she lose decision-making capacity or choose to delegate decision making to another. 

The medical center allows a family member, friend or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of their stay. The medical center allows for the presence of a support individual of the patient’s choice, unless the individual’s presence infringes on others’ rights or safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated. The individual may or may not be the patient’s surrogate decision-maker or legally authorized representative. 

The hospital prohibits discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

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