Keeping You Safe

The Care You Need Doesn't Have to Wait

Your healthcare needs didn’t stop for COVID-19. That’s why Vanderbilt Health has restarted surgeries, procedures and clinic visits that had been paused or delayed.

We have taken a careful approach to restarting services. Our safety actions follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other trusted experts.

Below you will find answers to common questions about how we are caring for you during this time. We’re in this with you, to help you get the care you need, safely. 

What are you doing to keep me safe?

  • Every person must wear a face mask to enter our hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. This includes patients, visitors and our doctors, nurses and staff. If everyone wears a mask, we all protect each other.
  • We check for fever and screen for other symptoms for everyone who enters our hospitals, clinics and facilities. This includes patients, visitors and employees before they can report to work.
  • We sanitize rooms between each patient and clean public areas often. 
  • Telehealth visits may be an option if you and your doctor agree it is right for your care.

What about "social distancing?"

Keeping a safe distance (6 feet) between people is an important way to keep the virus from spreading between people. We are taking steps to help allow everyone to keep a safe distance.

  • Waiting room chairs are spaced out.
  • The number of people who can take the elevator at one time is limited.
  • We currently have restrictions on visitation to reduce the number of people coming in and out of our hospital and clinics.
  • Our valet parking service is paused.
  • In some clinics, such as our walk-in clinics, you have an option for a “virtual waiting room.” Check in for your appointment, wait comfortably in your car and get a call when it is time for your care.

What are your current visitor policies?

We are limiting the number of people coming in and out of our hospitals and clinics. Find the most recent policies here.

Is there an easy way to keep up with these steps?

Yes, we have visual guides that you can view, download and print:

  • Quick Reference (PDF) for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and Vanderbilt Behavioral Health

  • Quick Reference (PDF) for Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital

Why restart these services? Didn’t I hear on the news that they are “elective”?

The term “elective” can be confusing. It simply means scheduled. It doesn’t mean unnecessary.
COVID-19 is not the only threat to your health and well-being. Many illnesses and conditions can cause serious problems. Good preventative care and early treatment can save lives. Taking care of chronic conditions now could reduce your risks from COVID-19 if you become ill in the future.

VUMC is leading research for better ways to treat COVID-19 and to prevent the illness with a vaccine. But that will take time. During the months ahead, we also have a mission to provide the important care that you need for your health and well-being.

What services are now available?

VUMC never closed. We delayed some services while we took steps – together –
 to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our area. Our careful approach is in line with Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s Roadmap to Reopen Nashville. We are scheduling outpatient clinic visits, surgeries and procedures for children and adults under age 70. 

Are you still offering telehealth?

We continue to offer telehealth visits where appropriate for the care you need. When you call for your clinic appointment (or when our team calls to confirm your appointment), you can discuss whether telehealth is an option for your care.

More information about telehealth visits.

Do I have to be tested for COVID-19?

Having COVID-19 can affect your recovery. People may be sick and infect others without appearing sick.

For your safety, we test everyone before admitting them to the hospital. This includes birthing mothers. We also test patients before scheduled surgery or procedures using general anesthesia.

A swab test is the best way to tell if someone has the virus that causes COVID-19. It detects genetic material from the virus. The test cannot tell if someone is immune to the illness or can make others sick.

We collect sample in 1 of 3 ways:

  • A swab inside both nostrils
  • A swab through one nostril to the palate above the roof of the mouth
  • A swab through the mouth to the back of the throat

The doctor and patient together will choose which method is used.

What are the current safety measures for prenatal appointments and childbirth?

Because of the special needs of pregnant and birthing mothers, there a few specific different steps we are taking for prenatal visits and labor and delivery at Vanderbilt Health and baby+co. Otherwise, the same policies apply as do for other patients.

  • Prenatal visits: We encourage telehealth prenatal appointments when possible. When an in-person appointment is required, one adult (age 16 or older) may accompany the mother. Both must be screened before each visit. This is also true when you come to an ultrasound at a Vanderbilt location. Baby+co.’s prenatal appointments differ slightly, and the full policy can be found here.
  • Doulas and partners at birth: 1 adult and 1 certified doula may be present in labor and delivery in Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and baby+co. (subject to screening). The partner can accompany the mother to postpartum and should be the same person with the mother for the entire stay.
  • Masks: All patients are expected to wear masks except when alone in their room, while eating or sleeping. We know wearing a mask during labor can be difficult. If you have specific concerns, discuss them with your provider. Newborns are not masked.
  • Mother-Baby Care: Newborns remain with mothers except when rare circumstances, such as severe illness or fever, make it safer for babies to be separated.  Breastfeeding is encouraged after appropriate hand and chest hygiene.

What else can I do to stay safe?

Your continued steps to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 matter as much as ever. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will continue to keep our community from becoming overwhelmed. These steps also reduce the risk that you and your family will be infected by the virus:

  • Stay home if you can. 
  • If you must go out, wear a mask and keep a safe (6 feet) distance between you and others. Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands well and often (with soap and water for 20 seconds).
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces frequently. 
  • Watch for symptoms, including new cough, shortness of breath and loss of smell or taste.
  • If you have symptoms, isolate yourself and contact your healthcare provider immediately. Or call the VUMC COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 312-0847.

How can I learn more?

The best way to stay in touch with Vanderbilt Health regarding your own healthcare is to activate and use My Health at Vanderbilt, our secure online tool for managing your healthcare. 

Telehealth visits occur inside this secure and private online tool. My Health at Vanderbilt also lets you request appointments, view lab and test results, message with your doctor, get prescription refills, pay your bill, update your personal and insurance information, get estimates of out-of-pocket costs and more.

Other ways to stay up to date: (links to the following)