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Visiting Family/Friends in Hospital?

What you need to know before visiting a hospital or multipurpose health service


NSW Health continues to focus on providing a safe health service for patients, their families and carers, and staff, while providing kind and compassionate care.

Visitors to NSW Health hospitals, community health centres, and outreach clinics are welcome but must wear a mask correctly before entering and while inside a healthcare facility. Children aged 12 and under are not required to wear masks.

All visitors will be screened on entry and must follow the advice of healthcare staff at all times.

If the person you are wishing to visit is currently COVID-19 positive, your request will need to be clinically assessed and some additional restrictions may apply.

Some hospitals may implement additional, short-term restrictions in response to a local COVID-19 outbreak to minimise the risk of transmission and ensure the safety of patients and staff. This may include limiting the number of visitors at the bedside at any given time. However, in such instances hospitals must apply as far as practicable, care and compassion.

Visitors will generally be permitted if they:

  • wear a surgical mask correctly at all times while in the facility
  • have not tested positive to COVID-19 within the last 10 days
  • have not tested positive to another acute respiratory infection in the last 7 days
  • do not have symptoms of COVID-19 or other acute respiratory infection
  • are not high risk contacts of someone who has COVID-19 in the previous 7 days
  • have not arrived from overseas in the past 7 days,

An exemption to any of the above criteria may be permitted on compassionate grounds and on a case-by-case basis including maternity and neonatal services.

Find more information to understand high risk contacts and general advice for people exposed to COVID-19.

Find more information on the requirements for participants in care for maternity services (birth partners).

What do I need to know about visiting patients in hospital?

  • In some parts of the hospital, such as the High Dependency Unit and emergency, only one person is allowed by the bedside at a time. 
  • Whilst visiting a patient, we ask that you please keep noise to a minimum so as not to disturb the wellbeing and recovery of other patients.
  • After Hours access can be arranged if required.

Hospital Etiquette    

  • Being aware and considerate really helps us to keep our hospitals and facilities safe. This includes understanding when you should and shouldn’t visit.
  • We ask that you always follow the basic rules of hand hygiene and if you’re not well, don’t visit until you are feeling better.
  • Often our natural defences are weakened when we are not well, or after an operation. It is important to take this into consideration if you are a patient of a facility, or visiting a patient of a facility.
  • You should always adhere to the directions of the facility and the health care workers.
  • It is important we all work together to protect loved ones, health care workers and everyone within our facilities.

Last updated: 19 October 2022