Visitor and Caregiver Policy

To protect the health and safety our patients and staff, Cheshire Medical Center has returned to more restrictive caregiver and approved visitor procedures, effective Thursday, November 12, 2020.

No visitors will be admitted to our facilities for inpatient or outpatient visits except in the case of four specific exceptions (see below).

This decision reflects rapidly changing conditions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Increases in active COVID-19 cases across the states of New Hampshire and Vermont and in the region
  • Increases in transmission rates of COVID-19 around the region

These procedures apply to all Cheshire Medical Center facilities, including Walpole Family Practice, Winchester Family Practice, Walk-In Care Clinic and satellite offices such as our Audiology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology departments and Optical Shop.

Screening procedures

Everyone is screened when entering Cheshire Medical Center and all D-HH patient care facilities. We screen for COVID-19 symptoms, recent travel, known COVID-19 exposure in the past 14 days, and attendance at group gatherings.

  • COVID-19 symptoms: Patients experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms must notify their provider before they arrive for an appointment. If the provider has not been notified, patients will need to call Cheshire’s COVID-19 nurse line at 603-354-5400 ext. 6844 for further information about their scheduled appointment. Emergency Department patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms may be escorted to a different entrance for isolated care.

Masks are mandatory for everyone at ALL times within Cheshire Medical Center facilities.

  • If you do not have an approved mask of your own, you will be provided one when you enter our facility.
  • If you refuse to wear a mask, you will be asked to leave our facility.

Social Distancing, maintaining a 6-foot distance between yourself and other people, should be observed whenever possible.  We have re-arranged our waiting areas and placed reminders to make social distancing easy.

Patients who are able to receive care without the presence of a required caregiver must do so. This applies to both inpatient and outpatient visits.

Exceptions to caregiver and visitor procedures

These are the only exceptions to the Cheshire Medical Center’s caregiver procedures. NOTE: An individual provider may not override or otherwise contradict these procedures

  • Patients requiring caregivers:
    • A "caregiver" is defined as a family member, friend, or other support person whose presence is required for physical, cognitive, or other support (such as a driver for sedated outpatients) associated with the patient's health care.
    • Patients that otherwise would not be able to navigate to their appointment without the active support of a caregiver (for example cognitively impaired or physically challenged patients) are permitted one caregiver.
  • Pediatric patients:
    • Inpatient pediatric patients may have up to two adult primary caregivers (parents or legal guardians) with them, as space permits. During hospitalization, the two designated caregivers should be the same two people.
    • Ambulatory (outpatient) pediatric patients are permitted one adult primary caregiver per visit. We will work with our patients' parents or guardians to accommodate special circumstances, but exceptions must be approved by the appointment provider prior to arrival for the visit
  • OB-GYN patients:
    • Outpatient prenatal patients may bring one adult with them to their prenatal and ultrasound visits.
    • During labor and delivery, up to two adult caregivers, including a partner, may be present.
    • Post-partum patients may bring one adult with them to their appointments.
  • Patients at the end of life and Family Meetings:
    • Patients at the end of life are defined as patients who are expected to die within 24 hours, as determined by the attending physician of record; patients who are designated as "Comfort Measures Only" (CMO).
    • No more than two visitors allowed at one time. Local nursing leadership will determine visitation for patients at end of life, as conditions allow.
    • Inpatient staff can facilitate secure virtual visits for additional requests. 
    • For a patient who is to be discharged home with hospice care, visits should be postponed or planned to the home setting whenever possible.

Caregiver screening procedures

  • No minors permitted as caregivers.
  • Caregivers who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have had a known COVID-19 exposure in the past 14 days may not enter a Cheshire Medical Center facility.
  • Caregivers are required to keep a mask on at all times, including when with the patient in the room.
  • 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 secure Virtual Visits via WebEx.
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

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