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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

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic masks are required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth and must be worn at all times while inside our facilities. If you are feeling sick, please reschedule your visitation to another day when you feel better. The Wilmington VA Medical Center (WVAMC) has updated visitation at its facilities.  To protect the health and safety of our Veterans and employees.

Effective Monday, April 25, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., the following guidelines for visitors of hospitalized patients at WVAMC are outlined below:

General Visitor Requirements:

  • All support persons/visitors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and will not be permitted entry if they fail the screening procedure.
  • Parents should make every attempt to find childcare to avoid bringing anyone younger than 12yrs of age into the facility.
  • Patients with disabilities, including chronic cognitive impairment such as dementia, may be accompanied by one support person.
  • Up to two visitors at the same time are allowed for patients in hospice who are at the end of life.  The two visitors may switch out with family members at the discretion of the unit manager or charge nurse.
  • The unit/department staff shall provide instruction, before visitors enter the patients’ rooms, regarding hospital policies to prevent spread of COVID-19, as well an any other pathogens for which transmission-based precautions may be required.
  • Visitors may not stay overnight.

Emergency Department Visitor Guidelines:

  • May have up to one support person per patient at the bedside.
  • Support person will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry to the facility, must wear a mask, and remain in the patient room.

Outpatient Visitor Guidelines:

  • May have up to one support person per patient in outpatient area.
  • Support person will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry to the facility, must wear a mask, and maintain social distancing in waiting areas.

Acute Care Unit Visitor Guidelines (ICU, 4 East, 4 West):

  • May have up to two visitor(s) per patient.
  • Visiting hours are between the hours of 11 am and 8 pm.
  • Support person will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon entry to the facility, must wear a mask, and remain in the patient room.

Community Living Center Visitor Guidelines:

  • The Community Living Center continues to follow National guidelines. The Community Living Center is scheduling visitor appointments. Visitors must remain masked during their visit with residents and remain in the designated areas. Please contact the Community Living Center MSA if you have any questions or want to schedule a visit @ / 4745.

All support persons/visitors/companions must:

  • Follow masking guidelines, respiratory hygiene, and cough etiquette precautions while in the common areas of the facility.
  • Bring surgical masks from home if possible. If not masked upon arrival, a mask will be provided. Loose-fitting cloth masks, bandanas, gaiters, and cloth masks with valves are not permitted. Masks that are provided should be re-used until damaged or soiled.
  • Respect social distancing of at least six feet as much as possible, including in the patient’s room.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently with soap/water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and limit surfaces touched.
  • Remain in the patient’s room except for entry to/exit from the hospital/facility to the extent possible. Visitors should limit their movement within the facility and if required to wait in the lobby, should remain masked and physically distant from others.
  • All support persons/visitors/companions must remain masked for the duration of their visit, even if they have a negative COVID-19 test. This includes remaining masked while in the patient’s room.
  • Visitation privileges may be discontinued at any time based on the clinical situation of the patient, visitor noncompliance with recommended procedures, or other factors.
  • Any questions related to visitation will be directed to the Nursing Officer of the Day (NOD) at .

Thank you for being a partner in your care. If you have questions, please speak with your nurse or a member of our care team.


The Wilmington VAMC has a Police Service. Our officers provide 24-hour patrols of the facility and parking lots. For general police assistance, please dial 800-461-8262, ext. 5280. In case of an emergency, dial 911. 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.

Because the VA Medical Center is Federal property, all persons and bags are subject to search. In addition, no weapons, alcohol, or illegal drugs are 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.