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Your family is an integral part of our team
At Northwell Health, we believe families play an important and necessary role in helping patients recover. With us, your loved ones are never just visitors—they're partners in your care.

Patients and families

You, your family and your care partner(s) are all essential members of your care team. By working together and listening to your goals, concerns and needs, we build understanding among all members of the team and develop the best plan of care with you. During your stay, we encourage your participation. Be sure to ask questions, voice your concerns and utilize our helpful resources.

When you arrive at the hospital, we will ask if you want to identify one or two people to be your care partner. These are family and friends whom you want to be actively involved in your care during your stay and the transition back home. Their level of involvement in your care is entirely determined by you.

Typically, your care partner can be with you at any time, day or night, without restriction. Other than you, they will be the main contact for your care team. The team will update your care partner who can then update family and friends about your progress and communicate your wishes to them.

Choosing your care partner

It is helpful to identify a care partner(s)—a trusted family member or friend who will be a support person for you and a key member of your care team, along with doctors, nurses and staff. Their involvement will ensure better care, safety and outcomes. They have an important role as spokesperson, advocate and supporter, especially if you are too sick or overwhelmed to speak for yourself. 

In addition to a family member or friend, a care partner could also be a:

  • Patient representative—a person designated by the patient (family or unrelated) to help make healthcare decisions, exercise the patient’s rights and participate in the development and implementation of the patient’s care. If the patient lacks decision-making capacity, the patient’s healthcare agent, and then surrogate, takes priority over the patient representative.
  • Support person—a responsible individual designated by the patient who helps him/her carry out visitation decisions, provides emotional support and comfort and alleviates fear during the course of the hospital stay.

Together, you and your care partner can learn about care during a hospital stay, gain confidence in providing care and plan for the transition to home. It is helpful if your care partner participates with you in nurse change of shift reports, rounds and discharge planning meetings when important information is discussed and your care is planned. Your care partner may also help you with managing your medications, getting to appointments and other aspects of your care and recovery after you leave the hospital. 

TOGETHER: Tips for care partners

  • Talk about your role with your loved one. Introduce yourself to staff and describe your relationship to the patient and how you’d like to participate in care. 
  • Observe changes (physical, behavioral, emotional) in the patient and report them to healthcare providers. Ask staff what observations they would like you to routinely share.  
  • Gather helpful information (current medications, medical history, other healthcare providers and insurance) and bring it all to the hospital.
  • Ensure that you’re present, if possible, at times when information will be shared and decisions need to be made. Keep your schedule open for visits to the hospital. Let staff members know how to reach you and be sure you know who to contact for information when you’re away from the bedside. 
  • Tell staff if you have any concerns about the patient’s condition or safety, or if you are uncomfortable because “something just doesn’t feel right.”
  • Help with decision-making about care and treatment. Be a second set of eyes and ears for the patient. Ask questions and take notes. 
  • Enlist help from staff members so they can support you and your loved one as you participate in care and decision-making.
  • Ready yourself for the transition to home or community care. Before you leave the hospital, make sure your questions, and those of the patient, have been answered. Know what will be needed afterward (medications, treatment, equipment, follow-up appointments) and what changes in the patient’s condition should be reported to healthcare providers.

Visiting information for guests

We welcome visiting guests of yours and your care partner(s), as they are also important to your recovery and comfort. We ask that guests follow the wishes of the patient and their care partner(s) regarding visiting as well as the following visiting guidelines.

  • Before visiting, guests must check in at the Information Desk located in the main lobby. Our staff will provide a visitor pass and answer any questions.
  • Even if visiting regularly, we recommend checking in each time to stay informed about the patient’s current room number and any visiting restrictions that may be in effect.
  • To maintain a restful healing environment, we ask that all visitors leave the hospital at the requested time. 

A care partner is someone whom a patient has identified to be an active member of the healthcare team.

Siblings and children

  • Children are welcome to visit a family member, but those under the age of 16 should be supervised by a responsible adult during their visit.
  • Young children are expected to stay with a responsible adult who is supervising them to ensure a safe and restful environment for the patient and other patients sharing the room.
  • There are no age restrictions for visiting children, but supervising adults are encouraged to keep their visit brief.

Safety precautions

Health and safety of patients are our primary concerns. We ask that visitors, as well as care partners, please help keep their loved one safe by following these basic precautions when they come to the hospital. These precautions may help safeguard your health as well. They include:

  • Hand hygiene
  • Use of personal protective gear (e.g., gloves, gowns, masks), especially if ill or during flu season
  • Safe injection practices
  • Safe handling of potentially contaminated equipment or surfaces in the patient environment
  • Respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette

Visitation restrictions

For the health and safety of our patients, there may be additional times when limits are placed on visitation. These will be explained by a member of the clinical team. Examples include:

  • Isolation procedures
  • When a patient has requested restrictions or time limits for visiting
  • When there are safety concerns, such as risk of infection
  • When visiting interferes with the care of other patients, including the need for their rest and privacy
  • When a visitor has a current court order that restricts contact with the patient
  • When a visitor becomes disruptive, threatening or violent
  • When the patient is in a substance abuse or mental health treatment program that requires limited visiting

Chaplaincy & spiritual support

We offer various religious, spiritual and existential services to help you find meaning, hope, connection and comfort during your time with us. Chaplains help create a sacred space for people of all faiths and cultural beliefs in stressful, life-changing or transitional moments. 

All our chaplains are clinically trained and provide quality spiritual care that is informed by best practices and centered on the needs of patients and families.