Pregnant women look for options as Nashville hospitals change visitor policies amid pandemic

Posted at 1:28 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 10:00:49-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Several Nashville hospitals have changed their visitor policies in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center released its restricted visitor policy on March 18, which includes the following:

  • No visitors at adult hospital
  • Women giving birth can have 1 birthing partner, care partner, or doula
  • Any visitor will be screened for symptoms of illness
  • Children’s Hospital is only letting one person be with patient

Vanderbilt Behavioral Health:

  • One patient or caregiver with a child
  • One caregiver with patients having electroconvulsive therapy

Vandy Clinics:

  • One person with patient

Baby and Company birthing center:

  • No in-hospital care for clients
  • Appointments will be via TeleHealth
  • Waiting room closed
  • One support person and one doula allowed

Ascension Saint Thomas also updated its visitor policy, saying:

“Our priority is to reduce transmission and to protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications. This situation is constantly evolving and Ascension Saint Thomas is committed to adhering to any new guidelines provided by the CDC or the Tennessee Department of Health.”

  • Remote visitation only
  • Communication through the use of personal devices and digital apps is encouraged
  • All patient rooms are equipped with a landline and can be used to reach loved ones
  • Exceptions to our visitation policy may be made by hospital leadership balancing the health risks and the patient’s right to receive visitors. Predefined exceptions include women giving birth, limited to one support person.
  • All persons will be screened upon entry into the facility.
  • No persons under the age of 18
  • Screening questions will include: Do you have a fever? Do you have a cough? Do you have difficulty breathing?
  • If the answer to any of these is “yes”, entrance to the facility will not be permitted
  • Birthing: 1 Birthing Partner/Visitor and 1 paid professional Doula

* Exceptions to our visitation policy may be made by hospital leadership balancing the health risks and the patient’s right to receive visitors

TriStar Centennial currently has a “no visitation” policy in effect with the following exceptions:

  • Pediatric patients: one parent or caregiver
  • OB patients: one birthing or care partner
  • Outpatient surgery/testing: one caregiver

Metro Nashville launched a website to keep residents informed on COVID-19 cases in Davidson County. COVID19.Nashville.Gov will provide new information as it becomes available.

Metro Health officials have also launched COVID-19 hotline staffed with nurses and other public health professionals to answer questions and provide the latest information. The hotline has as many as 15 call takers and can be reached by dialing 615-862-7777. It will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.


See all our coronavirus coverage here


What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.


The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.