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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

COVID-19 visitation and screening policy – June 21, 2022

We understand COVID-19 restrictions surrounding children visiting our care sites has been difficult. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding of our need to follow CDC and VA guidelines to ensure the safety of our Veterans, visitors and staff.

We are happy to share our updated VA Puget Sound Health Care System’s visitation for children (under 18-years-old) and COVID-19 screening policies, which vary based on the active Health Protection Level at the care site you are visiting.

The Health Protection Level for each of our care sites can be found on our website at https://www.va.gov/puget-sound-health-care/operating-status/.

Just follow the visitation and screening policy based on the Health Protection Level indicated at the care site you are visiting.

 

  • Expectations for visiting children regardless of Health Protection Level:
    • All adult caregivers will confirm screening responses for children accompanying them at campus and clinic entrances.
    • Medical grade masks must be worn for anyone 2-years-old or older
    • Children must be in the direct supervision and physically near their accompanying adult while in any VA facility.
    • It is not permitted for staff to care for children of adult patients.

 

  • Health Protection Level: HIGH
    • Screening:
      • At campus and clinic entrances.
      • Medical grade masks must be worn for anyone 2-years-old or older.
    • Children
      • Outpatient appointments and visits to laboratory:
        • One child permitted.
        • Children will follow the guidelines outlined above.
      • Pharmacy and other administrative visits:
        • Children not permitted.
      • Inpatient:
        • Children not permitted.

 

  • Health Protection Level: MEDIUM
    • Children:
      • Outpatient appointments and visits to laboratory:
        • Children permitted.
      • Pharmacy and other administrative visits:
        • Children permitted.
      • Inpatient:
        • Children are not permitted.

 

  • Health Protection Level: LOW
    • Children:
      • Outpatient appointments and visits to laboratory:
        • Children permitted.
      • Pharmacy and other administrative visits:
        • Children permitted.
      • Inpatient visitation:
        • Children not permitted.   

 

Note: Situations outside of these guidelines will be reviewed at the time of visit by local clinical leadership, upon screening. If outside general business hours (Monday – Friday), review and approval is determined by the care team on site.

Security 

VA Puget Sound Healthcare System is federal property.  All persons and bags are subject to search. No weapons, alcohol or illegal drugs are permitted.

VA Police provide 24-hour patrols of our facilities and parking lots. To report all suspicious or criminal activity, vehicle accidents, and personal property losses while on facility grounds call us at:

Seattle VA Medical Center:  Phone: 206-764-2899, ext. 63113

American Lake VA Medical Center: Phone: 253-582-8440, ext. 76757

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.