Patient Caregiver Policies in the Hospital

Due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in our region and nationally, Seattle Children’s is returning to stricter guidelines regarding visitors in order to protect the health and safety of our patients, families and workforce.

Patients in both our inpatient and ambulatory settings will only be allowed a single caregiver effective Monday, Nov. 30.

Inpatient care visitor policy update:

  • All families may identify two caregivers for their child’s inpatient stay.
  • Only one caregiver may be at the bedside at a time.
  • The two caregivers will remain the primary caregivers for the entirety of the hospitalization.
  • The following exceptions will continue to apply:
    • Caregivers of patients at the end of life may request an exception
    • Patients whose caregivers are receiving discharge teaching
    • Siblings who are younger than 12 months of age and who are breastfeeding may remain in a room with the breastfeeding parent if the patient is in standard precautions

We are communicating these changes to patients and families.

We will continue evaluating and adjusting our practices to maintain the safety of our patients, families and workforce throughout this rapidly changing pandemic. The visitor policy is subject to change quickly if the pandemic continues to worsen and if statewide restrictions are enacted.

Preprocedure Testing

  • Out-of-area testing: Outside PCR (nucleic acid amplification) test results from nasopharyngeal/mid-turbinate samples are accepted if the patient was tested within 72 hours of the procedure, they have stable symptoms, and they are not considered to be at high risk for COVID-19.  The patient’s PCP should order the test or the family may self-schedule a test if that is a locally available option. Results should be sent to Seattle Children’s to be entered in the patient’s EMR (fax results to the Seattle Children’s Pre-Anesthesia COVID-19 testing line at 206-985-3393 by 5 p.m. the day before procedure). See our FAQ for more information.
  • Helping families get tested in time: Families will receive a call from our Pre-Anesthesia Testing Coordinator (PATC) to discuss the requirements for COVID-19 testing and help schedule their test at one of our four local sites (Seattle, Bellevue, Federal Way, Everett). We have a system in place to prioritize testing for preprocedure patients.  Families experiencing financial hardship or other extreme circumstances will be connected with our guest services and social work teams.
  • Parent testing: In order for a parent to stay with their child in the hospital overnight when their child qualifies for double-rooming, they will need to be tested via PCR test within 72 hours of the procedure. Our PATC will review this requirement with family during the preprocedure call.
  • Type of swab: We are using either mid-turbinate swabs (first preference) or nasopharyngeal swabs (second preference), depending on availability of supplies. This is not a change, but we wanted to clarify that either type may be used.
  • Rapid testing: Given our limited supply of rapid COVID-19 tests, we offer rapid tests only in rare cases in which testing within the required timeframe is otherwise not possible.

Accepting Young Adult Transfers

To support regional hospital capacity, Seattle Children’s is prepared to accept transfers from other hospitals of pediatric and young adult patients up to age 30.

Additional Information

  • COVID-19 Testing Update: As of Dec. 1, we have tested 18,901 pediatric patients with 383 testing positive, for a positivity rate of 2.0%. Approximately 1 in 4 individuals who tested positive were asymptomatic.
  • Related articles on COVID-19 in children: