Visitor and Caregiver Policy

The Cheshire Medical Center visitor policy has been updated effective Monday, March 28, 2022.

This policy applies to all Cheshire Medical Center locations including Walpole Family Practice, Winchester Family Practice, and satellite offices such as our Audiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology departments and Optical Shop.

The primary goal of Cheshire’s visitation policy is to assure the safety of our patients and the health care workers caring for them. We continue to closely monitor the levels of COVID-19 in our community, assessing and revising this policy as needed in response to pandemic circumstances.

Screening procedures

Everyone (patients, employees, visitors and caregivers) are screened when entering Cheshire Medical Center and all Dartmouth Health patient care facilities. We screen for COVID-19 symptoms and possible exposure. Our screening procedures may change based on current guidelines.

  • COVID-19 symptoms: Patients experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms must notify their provider before they arrive for an appointment. 

We offer fresh, medical-grade masks to everyone entering Cheshire Medical Center facilities, regardless of vaccination status. Medical-grade masks must be worn at ALL times within our facilities. Learn why wearing a fresh, well-fitting medical-grade mask is important.

Visitor and caregivers policy

This policy applies to COVID-negative patients only. Patients who are positive for COVID-19 are not permitted visitors.


Adult and pediatric inpatients

(not including labor and delivery and end-of-life patients)

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Two visitors

Adult inpatients: 2 visitors at a time. Visitors may rotate. Visitors ages 2 to 17 must be with an adult. Visitors 2 and under by exception only.

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Two visitors

Pediatric inpatients: 3 adults per day are allowed: 2 parents/guardians/caregivers and 1 visitor. Visitors ages 2 to 17 must be with an adult. Visitors 2 and under by exception only.

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one visitor

Only 1 parent/guardian/caregiver may stay the night.

Everyone MUST check in and out when entering and exiting our facility (please see further detail below).


Adult outpatient appointments and procedures

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one visitor

1 person may accompany adult patients to outpatient appointments and procedures. We continue to encourage those who are able to attend outpatient appointments on their own. Connecting to appointments through virtual means is available.


Pediatric outpatient appointments and procedures

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Two visitors

2 people may accompany the pediatric patient for appointments and procedures.


Emergency Department (ED) visits

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Two visitors

Adult Patients: *2 people may accompany the patient. Visitors can rotate. Visitors ages 2–17  
must be with an adult. Visitors under 2 by exception only.

If the patient’s condition suggests they may have COVID-19, the person with them must remain in the room with the patient until this is determined.

  • If the patient presenting at the ED is a known COVID-19 positive patient and over the age of 19 no one is allowed to enter with them.
  • Everyone must wear a medical-grade mask during their entire time in the ED.

*Please note: There may be times when our waiting area in the ED becomes too crowded to remain safe. When this occurs, anyone escorting patients may be asked to wait in their car until the patient gets to their room, or the ED is less crowded.


Labor and Delivery patients

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Two visitors

Active Labor: 2 people may be permitted to stay with the patient during active labor.

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one visitor

Inpatient Stay: 1 support person is allowed to stay with the patient during their inpatient stay. When possible, we ask this be the same person throughout the patient’s admission.

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Two visitors

Postpartum visitors: 2 visitors per day, who may rotate. Visitors ages 2–17 must be with an adult. Visitors under 2 by exception only.


End-of-life patients

“Patients at the end of life” are defined as patients who are at risk of death within 24 hours by the doctor of record; patients receiving “comfort measures only.” 

Visitors for end-of-life will discuss with the patient’s care team to determine plan.


Visitor and caregiver requirements for Cheshire Medical Center locations

An individual entering with a patient to an outpatient appointment, or here to see an inpatient, must follow these guidelines:

  • Anyone entering with a patient must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Stop at facility entrances (Main or Emergency Department entrances) and complete the COVID-19 screening.
  • Pass the COVID-19 screening process. You may not enter the building if you have:
    • possible COVID-19 symptoms
    • had a positive COVID-19 test in the last 10 days
    • had known COVID-19 exposure in the past 10 days
    • do not wear an approved mask
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for outpatient appointments and inpatient visits: Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a hospital-issued medical mask given at the entrance or a well-fitting N95 or KN95.
    • The mask must be worn at all times and cover the nose and mouth.
      • This is required even when in a patient’s room.
      • Do not eat or drink in a patient’s room or in an outpatient waiting area.
      • If these rules are not followed, we will have to ask you to leave.
      • Learn more about masking within our facilities.
  • PPE for inpatient visits: Everyone is required to wear PPE as per instructions of the care team, this may include more than the medical mask noted above.
  • No one unable to wear a mask may enter our buildings without a letter from a medical provider stating the individual cannot wear a mask. A face shield will be required.
  • Everyone visiting an inpatient must check in and out for each visit at registration in the Main Lobby.
  • Everyone visiting will be required to wear a visitor sticker or bracelet and be asked to provide:
    • Name and contact number
    • Patient name and room number
  • Hours for inpatient visitation 
    • Weekdays: Noon to 8 pm
    • Weekends: Noon to 6 pm
    • All visits must end by 8 pm on weekdays and 6 pm on weekends.
  • Anyone accompanying patients who is not allowed into the building will be directed to parking areas on the campus where they should remain until called to assist the patient.

Virtual Visits for hospitalized patients

We encourage family members and friends to use their telephone or video calls to stay in touch with inpatients. Please reference our Virtual Visits with Friends and Family in the Hospital (PDF) to connect with loved ones using a personal device. For patients who may not have a device or need help connecting, our inpatient staff can facilitate virtual visits for you.
How can you connect with patients?

  • Call or video chat on their personal phone
  • Call 603-354-5400 for the patient's room and phone number
  • Make a staff-assisted Virtual Visit. Contact the patient's health care team to arrange a Virtual Visit.
  • Send mail to this address:

Patient's Full Name
Cheshire Medical Center
580 Court Street
Keene, NH 03431

Patients with disabilities

Cheshire Medical Center will work to ensure reasonable accommodations for each patient with a disability to provide reasonable access to others they may need with them in the inpatient and outpatient settings, in a manner consistent with disability rights laws and the health and safety of patients, our health care providers, and support persons.

Access to interpreters

This Policy does not restrict patient access to interpreters. Services for patients who have limited English language proficiency or are blind, deaf, hard of hearing, or otherwise communication disabled will be maintained.

Caregivers

A caregiver is a support person whose presence is required for physical, cognitive, or other support associated with the patient's health care, and/or necessary to navigate to the appointment. During times when the Medical Center requires "No Visitors," medically necessary caregivers may be an exception. No minors are permitted as caregivers.

Examples of caregivers include support for cognitively impaired or physically challenged patients; transportation assistance for sedated outpatients; a parent or guardian for patients who are minors.