Visitor Policy and Hours

Roswell Park Cancer Institute recognizes the importance visitors may have to our patients. The following guidelines were developed to assure that the patient and their visitors would have the maximum benefits from the experience without compromising patient care, confidentiality and security.

Visitors are allowed with the permission of the patient. Patient visitors should visit the main lobby information desk receptionist for patient information. At any time a patient may request to limit or restrict visitors. These requests must be communicated to the patient's care team members.

Patients on 5E, 5W, 5N, the Pediatric Unit (6N) and the Intensive Care Unit have additional criteria for visitors. Please check with staff on the unit for more information.

Please Note: Fresh flowers and plants are not permitted on these units. The unit staff and the Roswell Park Gift Shop personnel may be consulted for alternate gift options that are permissible and will be enjoyed.

Patient Status

During normal business hours, family and friends may get updates on your status by calling your room or the nurses’ station on your floor. They may also call the hospital Information Desk at (716) 845-1523 and ask to be transferred to your room or to your nurses’ station. After business hours, your family may call your nurses’ station directly or the switchboard operator at (716) 845-2300.

Visitor Policy

We strongly encourage you to visit with your family member or friend. We have an open visitor policy and family members and friends are welcome to visit anytime.

  • Family members are welcome to stay overnight, but will be limited to ONE person in the room. Overnight stays in semi-private patient rooms are at the discretion of the nurse manager.
  • On the pediatric unit a parent or designated guardian may stay with the patient at all times.
  • We ask that patients have only 2 visitors at any time. Exceptions to this rule may be approved by the nurse manager.
  • The units on the 5th floor, the Pediatric Unit (6N), the Intermediate Care Unit and the Intensive Care Unit may have additional criteria for visitors. Please check with your nurse for more information.

Visitor Courtesy

For the benefit of our patients, Roswell Park asks visitors to maintain these courtesies:

  • Please do not visit if you are sick or have recently been sick with a cold or flu.
  • Please wash or use hand sanitizer before and after entering a patient’s room.
  • Make your visits brief. Patients need rest to recover.
  • Remember, the patient may be in pain. Don’t sit on the patient’s bed.
  • You may be asked to leave the room for nursing or physician examinations.
  • If the patient’s door is closed, or if a sign is posted, please check at the nurses’ station before entering.

Visitor Services

While waiting for a patient in surgery or during visiting hours, visitors may take advantage of these services available within Roswell Park Cancer Institute:

  • Family lounges are available on each floor of the hospital.
  • Free wireless internet is available throughout the hospital.
  • The Resource Center for Patients & Families offers cancer information, resources and support; a complimentary wig program for cancer patients; a lending library of laptops, DVDs, and CDs; and printers. The Resource Center staff will deliver any of these services directly to inpatients by request.
  • A Pastoral Care Center and Meditation Chapel is located on the 1st floor of the main hospital (on the bridge to the Carlton Building).
  • Hospitality & Food
  • Gift Shop
  • Lodging

Infection Prevention

  • We want to protect our patients from infectious diseases that are transmitted easily from person to person (such as viral infections).
  • It is important to wash or sanitize your hands before and after entering a patient’s room.
  • All visitors with communicable infectious diseases should refrain from visiting patients. Please let friends and family members know about our policy if they wish to accompany patients during clinic visits or visit hospitalized patients.
  • We ask that visitors do NOT come to Roswell Park Cancer Institute if they have an influenza-like illness, which means a fever greater than or equal to 100°F (37.8°C) with cough and/or sore throat in the last 7 days.

Influenza Season Visitor Information

Your loved ones depend on us to take the best possible care we can of them. We need you to do your part, too, and put our patients first. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are suffering with a head cold, we ask you to reconsider your visit. If you need to visit, then we ask you to wear a surgical/isolation mask prior to entering a patient care unit. You can find these masks at all nursing stations.

The Ebola Virus Disease

Inform your Roswell Park physician if you:

  • traveled within the past three weeks to an Ebola-affected region*
  • had close contact with someone who has traveled to an Ebola-affected region* within the past six weeks, or who has had fever or other flu-like symptoms
  • traveled to, or have been in contact with someone who has traveled to, an Ebola-affected region* and you develop fever or other flu-like symptoms. It is very important that you inform your Roswell Park physician before coming to the Institute

If You Experience Symptoms After Recent Travel to an Ebola-affected Region*

If you experience symptoms after recent travel, or after being in contact with a person who has traveled to an Ebola-affected region*, you should do the following:

  • Call your Roswell Park physician (or Nurse Practitioner of Physician Assistant) about your symptoms and your recent travel to or contact with a person who has traveled to an Ebola-affected region.*
  • If these providers are not available, ask to speak to the covering physician.
  • Your Roswell Park physician or another member of our staff will provide you with specific instructions.
  • If urgent care is needed, call 911 and inform them about your symptoms and possible Ebola exposure.

Ebola Signs & Symptoms

  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F).**
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 21 days after Ebola exposure, but the average is eight to 10 days.

Facts About Ebola Transmission

  • You can’t get Ebola through air, water or food.
  • You can only get Ebola from:
    • Touching the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or who has died from Ebola. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious.
    • Touching contaminated objects, like needles.


Download the official notice from the NY State Department of Health, available in eight different languages.

* Ebola-affected areas as of December 2014 include Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali.

**Not all fevers are Ebola related, however it is important to notify your Roswell Park physician as it pertains to your cancer case.