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Policies

Find VA policies on privacy and patient rights, family rights, visitation, and more.

Privacy and patient rights

Read VA's national privacy and patient rights policies

Family rights

Read VA's national family rights policy

Visitation policy

Before visiting a patient at a VA facility, review these guidelines: 

Visiting hours:

Call the medical center for specific ward visiting hours and information.
James E. Van Zandt Veterans' Administration Medical Center: 877-626-2500

Visiting church members
If you’re a member of the religious community, we encourage you to visit patients who belong to your church or religious group. However, you’re not allowed to do general visitation by going from bed to bed, ward to ward, or unit to unit. 

Bringing food
You may bring small amounts of candy, fruit, and other food items if the nursing staff says they are appropriate for a patient's diet. You may not bring fresh fruit and flowers to patients who are receiving critical care, and you can’t eat or drink in those units.

Washing hands
You must follow hand-hygiene policy guidelines, which require you to practice good hand hygiene when you enter and exit patient rooms, and at other times as directed by staff.

Following infection-control guidelines
You must follow guidelines on infection-control signs and report to the nurses' station for instructions before you enter a patient's room.

Staying home if you are ill
If you have a communicable disease, you won't be allowed to visit patients inside the medical center.

Prohibited items
You're not allowed to bring weapons, cameras, or other prohibited items into the medical center, except when you're conducting official business authorized by the Director or their designee. If you have questions about what qualifies as official business, please contact the facility's Director. 

Giving privacy
Our staff may ask you to leave the room when they’re caring for patients. If a staff member asks you to leave a patient's room, you may continue your visit in the day room, waiting area, or any other public area of the facility.

Visiting seriously ill patients
Relatives and friends may visit patients who are seriously ill or in hospice care at any time of day, unless the staff doctor says no.

Visiting patients in restraints
In general, you won't be allowed to visit patients who are in restraints. If the treatment team decides that your visit could have a positive effect on the patient, then you may have a supervised visit with the patient when a staff member removes the restraints. Our staff will document how the patient responds to you and other visitors. 

Bringing children to visit
Children of all ages can visit patients at our medical center. For infection-control and safety reasons, however, children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit certain specialty-care units. All children under the age of 16 must be directly supervised by an adult. Children's bedside visits are limited to 15 minutes.

Visiting psychiatric units with children
Children under the age of 16 may visit patients in psychiatric units with the doctor’s permission.

Limiting your visit
Our doctors may limit, restrict, or deny visits for the medical well-being of a patient.  We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. 

Prohibited items
You can't bring weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs into the building.  Because the VA medical center is federal property, all visitors and bags may be searched.  

Security 

The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center has a Police Service. Our officers provide 24-hour patrols of the facility and parking lots. For general police assistance, please dial 877-626-2500, ext. 7059. In case of an emergency, dial 877-626-2500, ext. 7911. Report all suspicious or criminal activity, vehicle accidents, and personal property losses to the VA Police while on the facility grounds as soon as possible.

EEO Policy Statement

It is the policy of this medical center to provide equal opportunity in employment for all employees and applicants for employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a parent and to maintain a work environment that is free of any form of unlawful discrimination, including all forms of workplace harassment (both sexual and non-sexual). All employees will have the freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field with equal opportunity for competition and will be provided prompt, fair, and impartial review and adjudication of complaints involving issues of employment discrimination.  Equal opportunity covers all personnel/employment programs, management practices, and decisions including, but not limited to, recruitment/hiring, merit promotion, transfer, reassignments, training and career development, benefits, and separations. Discrimination against employees based on protected genetic information, or on information about a request for or the receipt of, genetic services is prohibited.  No individual on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent, shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in a federally conducted education and training program or activity.  Any federally-conducted programs or activities operated with VA funds will comply with established Limited English Proficiency (LEP) guidance.

Complaints of discrimination must be brought to the attention of an EEO Counselor within 45 calendar days of the date of occurrence of the event or act alleged to be discriminatory.  Procedures for initiating and processing individual complaints of discrimination may be discussed with an ORM EEO Counselor or the EEO Program Manager. 

This hospital will promote a positive, continuing affirmative program designed to eradicate barriers to employment and to achieve a representative work force, with special emphasis on minorities, women, handicapped individuals and disabled veterans.  Reprisal against one who engages in protected activity will not be tolerated, and this facility supports the rights of all employees to exercise their rights under the civil rights statutes. 

As Director of this facility, I have stressed the importance of remaining mindful of our EEO responsibilities to our supervisors and managers.  Not only has this responsibility been incorporated into our performance appraisal system, but is reemphasized through administrative staff meetings and supervisory training programs. 

Sigrid D. Andrew, MHA, RN
Medical Center Director

VA general visitation policy

The medical center respects the patient's right to make decisions about his or her care, treatment and services, and to involve the patient's family in care, treatment, and services decisions to the extent permitted by the patient or surrogate decision-maker. 

"Family" is defined as a group of two or more persons united by blood, or adoptive, martial, domestic partnership, or other legal ties. The family may also be a person or persons not legally related to the individual (such as significant other, friend or caregiver) whom the individual considers to be family. A family member may be the surrogate decision-maker, as defined in VHA Handbook 1004.02, if authorized to make care decisions for the individual, should he or she lose decision-making capacity or choose to delegate decision making to another. 

The medical center allows a family member, friend or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of their stay. The medical center allows for the presence of a support individual of the patient's choice, unless the individual's presence infringes on others’ rights or safety, or is medically or therapeutically contraindicated. The individual may or may not be the patient's surrogate decision-maker or legally authorized representative. 

The hospital prohibits discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

Advance directives

When faced with difficult decisions about health care, you may struggle with the question of "what should be done?" These resources can help you deal with tough decisions about health care and how to plan for it.

Health Care Ethics Resources for Veterans, Patients, and Families

VA Form 10-0137 - VA Advance Directive: Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will

What You Should Know about Advance Directives

Report patient quality of care concerns

Visit the Joint Commission page to report concerns you have about the quality of patient care.

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