A smiling woman with a toddlerWe understand that visits from family members and friends are an important part of the healing process. Learn what you need to know before visiting patients at Mass General.

IMPORTANT: Updated Visitor Policy (Last updated October 11, 2021)

Dear family and friends of Mass General inpatients: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inpatients are allowed two visitors or support persons per day between the hours of 11:00 am and 8:00 pm: either two visitors, two support persons, or one visitor and one support person. This will help us create a safe environment for our patients, families and staff. We use masks, hand hygiene and social/physical distancing to help keep everyone safe.

As of October 11, the following policy changes have been enacted:

  • Two visitors per patient will now be permitted for inpatients. For ambulatory, ancillary and procedural areas and emergency departments, one visitor is allowed (with limited exceptions). 
  • Visitors under the age of 18: Some visitors under the age of 18 may not require an accompanying adult (i.e., an adolescent visitor who travels independently). When visitors under the age of 18 require an accompanying adult, accommodations to permit the accompanying adult as an additional visitor are at the discretion of local leadership
  • A single visitor per Mass General Brigham host is now allowed in research and non-clinical areas

Unit staff will review any exceptions to restrictions with you at the time of your visit.

Note: There are limited exceptions to these restrictions for parents and other adult caregivers of pediatric patients, support persons of obstetric patients, caregivers of patients with a disability and visitors to patients at the end of life.

Visitors who meet the exception criteria, please:

  • Call the patient care unit before visiting to make sure it is a good time for you to visit
  • Use your phone to communicate with and support your loved one
  • Ask a nurse about other options we can provide to help you stay in touch

Normas para visitas durante la pandemia de COVID-19 (PDF) >

Our Visitor Policy During COVID-19

NOTE: Visitors and Support Persons who are unable to comply with this policy may be asked to leave the facility.

Visitor Screening

Upon arrival at the hospital, all visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms. All visitors are encouraged to utilize the Mass General Brigham Pre-screen Pass.

Visitors and support persons will be excluded from visiting if they:

  1. Have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or
  2. Have active COVID-19 infection (i.e., remain in the isolation period), or
  3. Have confirmed COVID-19 exposure and are in the quarantine period. Note that asymptomatic exposed Visitors or Support Persons who remain within their quarantine period may be permitted to visit under limited circumstances at the discretion of local leadership (i.e., Support Person to a patient or Visitors to a patient receiving end-of-life care; see Section on Exceptions to the Visitor Policy for Patients).

Wearing a Mask

Per the Universal Mask Policy, facility-issued face masks are required in all Mass General locations, including in inpatient areas, emergency departments, outpatient settings and peri-procedural areas.
  • When you arrive at our facilities, you will be given a procedural or surgical mask to wear. If you have a mask from home, you will be asked to replace it with the mask we provide to wear during your stay or visit
  • You will be required to put on your facility-issued mask immediately, and to wear the mask continually until you leave the building, even in patient rooms.
  • Inpatients must wear the mask while outside of their room and when staff or visitors enter the room
Exceptions to the masking requirement:
  • Some Support Persons may require accommodations for personal protective equipment use according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (See ADA and Mask Accommodations Flow Chart)
  • Visitors who are less than 2 years of age should not be masked per public health guidelines. These individuals may be permitted to visit at the discretion of local leadership
  • Additional PPE will be provided as indicated
  • There may be some locations where you could remove your face mask for example, to eat or drink in our cafeterias or other locations designated by each facility

Please note: Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Commonwealth of Massachusetts have lifted restrictions so that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in many settings, patients and visitors to Mass General Brigham hospitals and health care facilities must continue to wear a facility-issued mask when you are at our facilities. Employees will continue to do so, as well. This is for the health and safety of everyone in our care.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) When Visiting Patients Who Are Isolated for Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19, or Confirmed Exposures to COVID-19

You are required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) when visiting patients who are isolated and in their quarantine period in the hospital for any of the following reasons. Patient has:

  • Suspected COVID-19 infection
  • Confirmed COVID-19 infection
  • Confirmed exposure to COVID-19 within prior 14 days

The video below will help you prepare in advance for the PPE that will be provided to you. It will show you the correct order of putting the PPE on and removing it once you have completed your visit.

Hand Hygiene 

Wash your hands frequently, or use the hand sanitizer available throughout the hospital. If you arrive with disposable gloves on, please take them off, throw them away and perform hand hygiene.

Behavior While Visiting

Please check in with the nurses' station on the unit prior to entering the patient's room each time you visit the patient. You may be asked to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE). Once you are in the patient's room, stay there for the entire visit, except to use the public restroom.

At this time, visitor and patient access to cafeterias and gift shops is no longer restricted. Lounges on the inpatient units are closed.

Leaving the Hospital

Once your visit is over, please exit the hospital immediately. Please do not remove your mask until you are outside the building. 

Visitors for Labor and Delivery Patients

At this time, given needs for physical distancing and other infection control measures, Mass General has decided that visitors to outpatient appointments are not allowed with few exceptions. Due to the separate designation for birth partners, we have obtained an exception that allows pregnant patients to have their birth partners (person over the age of 18) attend obstetric ultrasounds and, if so desired, other prenatal visits, at most sites*. 

We encourage you to think about which appointments are most important for you to have someone accompany you. You can also ask your provider to engage a family member or friend in the visit by phone.

Anyone who is at the clinic or the hospital (patients, visitors and staff) is screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and provided a hospital issued mask to wear while they are here.

Please note, at this time, visitors cannot be accommodated for non-obstetric types of outpatient visits, with few exceptions. We look forward to seeing you. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions or concerns.

For more information, please see "Labor and Delivery" under "Visiting Specific Patient Care Areas" below.

*Due to limitations in the physical space at the Chelsea HealthCare Center, we cannot safely accommodate support persons there at the moment. However, Chelsea patients can bring their support persons to ultrasounds at the other sites.

Visiting Specific Patients

Pediatric Patients
  • There are no additional restrictions on time spent with the patient in the patient’s room or requirements for physical distancing within the room, to permit the most supportive care environment for children
  • The same parent/caregiver will be encouraged to stay with the patient during the entire admission, with no access to shared patient and family spaces on the pediatric inpatient unit. An additional parent/caregiver is permitted in patient care areas at discretion of local leadership
  • Decisions about whether the parent/caregiver can accompany the patient off the inpatient unit for a procedure will be made on a case-by-case basis
  • Asymptomatic parents/caregivers of pediatric patients hospitalized with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be instructed to practice isolation if they return home
  • Parents/caregivers are instructed to practice CDC-recommended best practices regarding use of facemasks, hand-washing, physical distancing, and minimization of exposures while in the community, including separation from any sick household members who are in self-isolation
  • Local leadership may determine the appropriateness of PPE in addition to universal mask in specific parent/caregiver-child situations
Special Assistance
  • The same designated support person (or small team of alternating support persons with only one person on site at any given time) will be encouraged to stay with the patient throughout the admission, with no access to shared patient and family spaces on the inpatient unit
  • Decisions about whether the support person can accompany the patient off the inpatient unit for a procedure will be made on a case-by-case basis by local leadership
  • Local leadership may determine the appropriateness of PPE in addition to universal mask in specific contexts regarding patients with disabilities and their support person
  • Asymptomatic support persons of patients with disabilities hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 will be instructed to practice quarantine if they return home, as they are considered exposed to the hospitalized patient with confirmed COVID-19

Visiting Specific Patient Care Areas

Labor and Delivery
  • Asymptomatic laboring patients are permitted to have one birth partner/support person and one visitor (over 18) who is asymptomatic as per above
  • Laboring patients who are confirmed COVID-19, CoV-Presumed suspect COVID-19 (CoV-Risk), and with known exposure to COVID-19 (CoV-Exposed), are permitted to have one birth partner/support person who is asymptomatic as per above
  • There are no additional restrictions on time spent with the patient in the patient’s room or requirements for physical distancing within the room, to permit the most supportive care environment for patients
  • The birth partner/support person must remain with the patient (e.g., in inpatient room, exam room, or in waiting room with patient) or with their Mass General host for the entirety of their visit or will be asked to leave and wait outside. They are permitted brief visits to the cafeteria or gift shop at the discretion of local leadership

Note: The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology maintains visitor guidelines on a separate page. For the most up-to-date information about the OB/GYN visitor policy, please see the Updated Policy for Obstetrical Labor and Delivery Patients and Visitors.

Procedural Areas
  • Some procedural areas may be able to accommodate a small number of escorts in their waiting areas if social/physical distancing can be maintained
  • One or both parents or other adult caregiver may accompany a pediatric patient to all procedural areas
Ambulatory Practices
  • One visitor/support person per patient will now be permitted in ambulatory departments; under extraordinary circumstances, facilities may need to restrict visitation
    • If there are any concerns with a support person for a patient with disabilities, please contact the MGB Office of General Counsel (OGC)
  • Exceptions to visitor policy may be granted by ambulatory practice leadership for:
    1. Patients who require help with mobility or support
    2. Law enforcement officers working in an official capacity
    3. Pediatric patients (patients cared for by a pediatric provider or in a pediatric area) may be accompanied by one or both parents or adult caregiver
    4. Patients with disabilities
    5. Patients receiving end-of-life care
  • Patients with Special Needs / Disabilities
    • Documented in Special Needs Tab in Epic at patient level
    • Support person flag per encounter is no longer needed as long as Special Needs Tab is complete
Emergency Department
  • One visitor/support person per patient will now be permitted in emergency departments; under extraordinary circumstances, facilities may need to restrict visitation
  • Exceptions to visitor policy may be granted by nursing/physician leadership or their designee for:
    • Patients who require help with mobility or support
    • Law enforcement officers working in an official capacity
    • Birth partners of obstetric patients
    • Patients with disabilities 
    • Patients receiving end-of-life care
    • Pediatric patients (patients <22 years old) may be accompanied by one or both parents or guardians
      1. If upon screening in the ED the parent/adult caregiver of a pediatric patient reports COVID symptoms, they will be allowed to remain with the patient
      2. If another parent/guardian is asymptomatic then it would be preferable for that parent/adult caregiver to remain with the patient and for the symptomatic parent/adult caregiver to go home if family determines this to be feasible
      3. If not determined to be feasible the symptomatic parent/adult caregiver must continue wearing a mask at all times. The patient and their parent/adult caregiver will be expedited to a room, placed on Enhanced Respiratory Isolation precautions and all parties must remain in the room at all times. If the parent/adult caregiver cannot comply with these restrictions they may be asked to leave
      4. If the patient needs to be admitted, then local leadership of the admitting floor should follow their existing policies and may contact infection control if needed to review the situation
      5. Siblings of a child who is a patient will be allowed to accompany their parent/caregiver in all areas of the ED when childcare options are not readily available as long as the parent/caregiver is able to continue to care for them. The parent/caregiver should continue to attempt to find alternative childcare options for the siblings of the child who is a patient while in the ED

Download a PDF with more visitor information >

Information for Visitors

Before visiting a patient, please speak with the patient's nurse or clinician to determine the best time to visit or to discuss the number of visitors or any unusual visiting circumstances that might require special arrangements.

Visitation privileges will not be limited or denied based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Visitors may include a spouse, adult child, parent, close relative, friend, domestic partner, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others. Same-sex parents shall have the same access as different-sex parents for their minor children.

Information Desks

Information desks are located throughout the hospital buildings, near many of the major entrances. Desk staff members are knowledgeable and can help answer any questions. 

Patient Information/Patient Privacy

Patient privacy is important to Mass General. Patients have the right to limit access and confidentiality. Patients can indicate to the admissions or nursing staff that no information is to be shared about their condition and/or that they wish not to have visitors. If such a request has been made, it will be communicated to you. Learn more about our commitment to patient privacy.

Patient Status Inquiries and Telephone Calls

Patient information is available by calling 617-726-2070. Your call will be forwarded to the patient's unit, where you can speak directly to the patient's nurse or clinician.

Please note: For patients in Intensive Care Units, only questions from immediate family members can be answered.

Infectious Diseases

For visitors who have been exposed to infectious diseases such as chicken pox, tuberculosis (TB), mumps or measles within three weeks of their visit, please speak with the patient's nurse before visiting.

Download a PDF with more visitor information >

Contact a Patient or Employee

Send mail to a patient or employee at Mass General by using one of the following addresses.
Please do not send urgent or confidential information.

To Write to a Patient:

Attention: Patient Name
Building and room number
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

To Write to an Employee:

Attention: Employee Name
Mail Code, Building and room number
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114-2696

Proper Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Visitors

Watching this video will give you information that will help you understand how to put on and remove hospital-provided PPE. After watching, please let staff know if you have questions or need assistance.