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 (Effective November 30, 2020)

To continue to keep you, our patients and our staff safe during the ongoing COVID pandemic, Mass General has updated the hospital’s Visitor Policy. We recognize this is a stressful time for you and your family and we appreciate your help and understanding. 

If you would like to visit an inpatient, we recommend that you call the inpatient unit prior to visiting to make sure it is a good time to visit.

If you have any questions, please speak with a staff member.

Important Details About Visitor Restrictions

This policy is based on infection control practices designed to safeguard patients, visitors and staff by:

  • Minimizing the number of people on the hospital campus at any one time
  • Minimizing the number of people any one individual is exposed to throughout the day
  • Promoting physical/social distancing

For the purposes of this policy, visitors include all individuals who are not patients or Mass General Brigham (MGB) employees who seek entrance to MGB premises.

Normas para visitas durante la pandemia de COVID-19 >

Essential Visitors

  • Essential visitors are defined as:
    • Support persons for patients including birth partners, parents of patients who are under the age of 18 years old, attorneys of patients and companions for patients with intellectual and/or physical disabilities, and visitors to patients at the end-of-life. Note: For pediatric patients, one parent or other adult caregiver may stay overnight
    • Vendors and contractors whose urgent non-deferrable services are deemed essential for the functioning of MGB activities
    • Emergency Services Personnel (e.g., EMS, Fire Department)
    • Law Enforcement
  • All other visitors to MGB facilities are considered non-essential
  • Employees/staff who wish to visit a patient in a non-professional capacity must adhere to all aspects of the visitor policy

Patients who are not on enhanced respiratory isolation may have one asymptomatic (no COVID-19 symptoms) visitor over the age of 18 in the hospital per day between the hours of 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm. It is strongly recommended that visits last no longer than 2 hours.

  • Please note: Patients receiving end-of-life care may have up to two visitors

Patients who are on enhanced respiratory isolation are not allowed to have a visitor. There are some exceptions for obstetric and pediatric patients, patients with a disability and patients receiving end-of-life care. Please see exceptions below:

  • At the discretion of leadership, a child under the age of 18 may be allowed to visit a parent who is a patient in some areas. The child must be supervised at all times. Visitors should call the unit/practice to confirm that a child visitor is allowed

  • Visiting hours are from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm to promote rest and healing. Exceptions may be made based on individual patient and family situations
  • No visitors are allowed into the Emergency Department. Some very limited exceptions will be reviewed with you in the department if needed
  • No visitors are allowed in our ambulatory practices. Some very limited exceptions will be reviewed with you at the time of scheduling if needed
  • If you are waiting to visit or escort a patient, you must wait outside the hospital as visitor waiting areas remain closed

While You Are in the Hospital:

  • All visitors will be given a hospital-issued mask to wear when you enter the hospital. Visitors must wear this mask at all times while in the hospital. Additional personal protective equipment will be provided as needed
  • Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer before and after visiting a patient
  • Remain in the patient’s room for the entire visit. Lounges on the inpatient units remain closed
  • Please do not eat or drink while you are in a patient’s room as this requires you to take off your mask
  • The cafeteria, gift shop and other common areas of the hospital are closed to visitors at this time
  • Please exit the hospital directly and quickly upon leaving the patient’s room
  • Unit staff will review any exceptions to the above with you at the time of your visit
  • Respectful behavior is expected of all. Discriminatory or culturally insensitive language or behavior that is verbally or physically threatening is not tolerated

We will also continue to support alternative, electronic methods for communication between patients and their friends, family and loved ones. We encourage you to use these methods as much as possible given the need to restrict visitors.

Exceptions for Visiting Patients on Enhanced Respiratory Isolation

In addition to the guidelines above, the following guidelines apply for people who are visiting patients on enhanced respiratory isolation.

End-of-life care
  • Up to two visitors are allowed (more information about number of visitors allowed will be provided by clinical leadership on a case-by-case basis)
  • 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
Obstetrics (laboring or post-partum patient)
  • Asymptomatic laboring patients are permitted to have one partner/support person 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 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
For more information, please see the Updated Policy for Obstetrical Labor and Delivery Patients and Visitors.
Pediatrics
  • All children admitted to a pediatric inpatient unit, including those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, will be allowed one asymptomatic adult (> age 18 years) visitor, either a parent or other caregiver at a time, as per above
  • One parent or other adult caregiver is allowed to stay overnight with the patient
  • 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 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
  • Decisions about whether the 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
  • As parents are not in personal protective equipment while in the patient room, parents/caregivers of a pediatric patient will be instructed to shower or change into a new set of clothes before leaving the inpatient environment or, if not available, when arriving home. They are instructed to shower and change into a new set of clothes before re-entering the inpatient environment
  • Parents/caregivers are instructed to practice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended best practices regarding hand-washing, physical distancing, and minimization of exposures while in the community, including separation from any sick household members who are in self-isolation
To learn more, visit the MassGeneral Hospital for Children website.
Special populations
  • Caregiver/support person of adult patients who require someone's assistance to routinely manage their disability or care will be considered, subject to all the restrictions 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 patents
For additional information, please see the Updated Policy for Visitors for Patients with Disabilities

Masks Required for Entering the Hospital

Everyone—including patients, staff and vendors—will be screened for the following upon entering the hospital:

  • Symptoms consistent with COVID-19 
  • Confirmed COVID-19 infection
    • A visitor with a history of the COVID-19 infection is permitted if they meet MGB criteria for resolution of COVID status for outpatients
  • Travel in the last 14 days to any area subject to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order
    • Non-essential visitors who have traveled in the past 14 days to any area subject to the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order or failed to comply with conditions of the travel order (i.e., obtained a negative test in the relevant time frame) will not be allowed to proceed

Individuals free from COVID-19 will be allowed to enter Mass General and supplied with hand sanitizer and a clean mask. Masks must be worn as part of our continued efforts to protect our patients, and all visitors must wash their hands before and after visiting a patient.

    • Patients: All patients—including those in inpatient areas, emergency departments, ambulatory settings and peri-procedural areas—must wear the mask provided
    • Vendors and other personnel: All other entrants to the hospital—including approved vendors, contractors, EMS personnel and law enforcement—must immediately put on the mask provided and wear it continuously until leaving the building

Visitors to Specific Patient Care Areas

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
  • Due to physical space constraints, no visitors are allowed into the ambulatory practices
  • Exceptions for a single visitor may be granted by practice nursing/physician leadership or their designee for:
    • Patients who require help with mobility or support.
    • Corrections officers escorting a patient in custody
    • Pediatric patients (patients cared for by a pediatric provider or in a pediatric area) may be accompanied by one or both parents or an adult caregiver
    • Birth partners of obstetric patients
    • Patients with disabilities as defined below
    • Patients receiving end-of-life care
  • Ambulatory areas are to determine patients requiring a visitor/escort at the time of scheduling
Emergency Department
  • No visitors are allowed into the waiting/treatment areas of the Emergency Department.
  • Exceptions for a single visitor may be granted by nursing/physician leadership or their designee for:
    • Patients who require help with mobility or support
    • Corrections officers escorting a patient in custody
    • Pediatric patients (any patient cared for in the Pediatric ED) may be accompanied by one or both parents or an adult caregiver
    • Birth partners of obstetric patients
    • Patients with disabilities as defined below
    • Patients receiving end-of-life care.

Download a PDF with more visitor information >

Visiting patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, or patients possibly exposed to COVID-19

The following apply for visitors to patients who are on Enhanced Respiratory Isolation for suspected or confirmed COVID-19, or exposure to COVID-19.

  • Up to two visitors are allowed at the discretion of leadership for end-of-life patients; a single visitor is allowed for Labor and Delivery, and patients with intellectual or physical disabilities in addition to a birth partner or caregiver/support person. One or both parents or other adult caregivers may visit a pediatric patient
  • Visitors to adult patients permitted under exceptions below will:
    • Be informed of the risks to their health of visiting
    • If they will maintain a distance of six feet from the patient, then no additional personal protective equipment is required
    • If they anticipate close contact with the patient, then the visitor will be instructed to don a gown, gloves, and eye protection in addition to their mask and instructed on removal of PPE prior to exit of the room
    • Visitors must wash their hands frequently, before entry to the room and upon exit from the room

Mass General Patient Guide

Download the Mass General Patient Guide, a resource to help you during and after your stay at the hospital. You’ll find:

      • Answers to questions frequently asked by patients, families and friends
      • Information about your care team during your stay
      • Amenities and services available
      • How to get ready for your care after discharge
      • A section for note-taking and writing questions for your care team
      • How to send a card or gift to a patient

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.

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