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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.
Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center: 800-393-0865

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

In extreme circumstances, children under 12 may visit with the permission of the physician and the charge nurse. An adult must accompany children at all times.

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 Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center has a police service. Our officers provide 24-hour patrols of the facility and parking lots.

  • For emergencies, please call 911.
  • For non-emergencies, please call 224-610-3703 for the Lovell Federal health care Police (24 hrs).

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. The medical center is federal property, and therefore all persons and bags are subject to search. In addition, weapons, alcohol, and illegal drugs are not permitted.

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, marital, 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.