Q:

How do you get a patients hospital room number if you're not a family member?

A:

Quick Answer

The details of a patient's location should be freely available on request unless permission to share details has been withdrawn by the patient or their medical practitioner. Hospitals should not exclude visitors on any discriminatory basis.

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How do you get a patients hospital room number if you're not a family member?
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Full Answer

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA, medical professionals should maintain a database of general information, including patient location and a general statement of patient condition. Under these rules, the patient should be given a clear opportunity, where possible, to set rules regarding visitors. WhiteHouse.gov guidance underlines that visitors are to be given full and fair treatment consistent with the wishes of the patient, including the exclusion of individuals or groups of people.

Visiting hours vary between hospitals, so it is advisable to check ahead. About.com offers some helpful guidance for visitors, including staying away if ill, keeping visits short and ringing ahead to ask the patient themselves if a visit would be suitable. Visiting may be restricted or entirely rescinded if treatment or other sensitive circumstance require it.

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