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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

  • Visitors who have pending COVID test results due to symptoms or exposure are asked to not come to the facility

  • Visitors who are in quarantine or isolation, or who have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID in the last 14 days are also asked to stay home

    • Emergency Room

      • One visitor is allowed at a time
      • Children allowed on a case-by-case basis per Emergency Room leadership
      • Visitors must be COVID-19 negative
      • Visitors must remain in the treatment room
    • Inpatient

      • No children under 18-years-old are allowed as visitors
      • Visitation hours are Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. unless prior arrangements are made with the unit Nurse Manager
        • Visitation outside of these hours will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the care team on site
      • Visitation by multiple people per day is permitted, but no more than one visitor in the room at a time (visitors may wait in area waiting rooms, please do not congregate in the hallways)
      • Visitation is limited to two hours at a time, to allow the patient to rest and the care teams provide needed services
      • Visitors will not be allowed to spend the night at the bedside unless prior arrangements are made with the unit Nurse Manager
    • Outpatient

      • Children under 18-years-old are permitted as visitors
        • They must remain near their accompanying adult
        • Staff will not attend to visiting children nor can children be left alone during care visit
      • Outpatient visitors are restricted to one person accompanying the veteran to an appointment if they require assistance or are needed to assist with mobility
      • Visitors should please wait in designated waiting areas
      • Veterans and visitors arriving for Same Day procedures that require a designated driver will check in as directed in their pre-procedure calls


Masks for visitors are optional except while visiting areas designated as high-risk


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.