I want to thank all who replied; responses, and sample policy, that I sent the Nursing Director talked of specific, written policies banning inpatients from hospital cafeterias and coffee shops.  Here is the full summary:

1.  Our hospital cafeteria does not allow admitted patients to eat there.  There is a sign posted outside the entrance.  Family members and outpatients are welcome in and can take food back to patients, but inpatients themselves are barred.  

2.  We have a policy at one of the hospitals re: patients not eating in the cafeteria period. Liability issue: diabetics, sugar, etc.

3.  Our policy is that the inpatients cannot use either the cafeteria or coffee shop.  When they go in they are told "sorry but we are unable to serve inpatients "  They have to have their diets approved by their physician.  I've been in the area when this has  happened it is sort of embarrassing for everyone.  Fortunately I've only seen it happen a few times over many years.  Especially now when no one stays for very long anyway.  or they are just too sick to care.

4.  I have similar issue in our cafeteria and café.  We do allow some REHAB patients to come to the cafeteria for therapy purposes, but they have to be accompanied by nursing personnel.  The rest of the admitted patients should not be allowed to come to the cafeteria for safety reasons and dietary restrictions.  I have brought up this issue with nursing directors and they all agreed with me.  Unfortunately, we do not have a policy and procedure to address this issue.

5.  We don't have this issue at all.  I'm wondering if the "go back upstream to the source of the issue" is:  why are these patients wandering around unattended in the first place?

6.  We don't have that issue, mainly because we don't allow inpatients to leave their units.  I think now you can state patient safety, but I think the reason was that the doctors didn't want to wait until the nurse finds the patient. Sometimes I see patients walking in their PJs on the ground floor going to the Hospitality Shoppe.  When we see a patient in an area that is clearly not allowed, we call Security who then politely escorts the patient back to their unit.  As far as the cafeteria goes, there is a sign on the cafeteria door that states "Employees Only."  They will serve outpatients and the community who wander in, but it is discouraged.

7.  Patients who eat in the cafeteria are usually from the mental health unit. They wear their street clothes and don't have IVs. I'll check on whether we have a policy.

8.  Dietary delivers meals to the patients and patients' families.  They have a gourmet menu that is quite delicious.

9.  Our hospital makes sure patients have blankets on their laps when in wheelchairs. I don't think there are any other restrictions tho as far as a patient going to the cafeteria to eat.

And from a hospital Food Service Manager:

10.  this has never been an issue.  I guess I would say something nicely if need to.  I have no problem with patients eating in the cafe.  It is a public place for all to enjoy time with friends, family or to get just a small break from everyday problems.  This past year I noticed a family was coming in daily for about 2 months.  Mother, father, daughter.  the dad did have an I.V. in him.  We actually made the family a baby bistro meal (gourmet), catered it to them in the cafe, served them and thanked them for using our service daily.

Sample Policy:
	The purpose of this policy is to state the restrictions on patients relative to ambulation
	within the Institution.	
	Patients who ambulate or with orders to ambulate must remain on the unit to which
	assigned at all times, unless access to the day room for the floor requires walking to a
	different hallway on the same floor.  Ambulation orders are defined as ambulation on the
	unit to which assigned.
	1.	This policy will be strictly enforced in order to:
		a.	Help ensure patients safety.
		b.	Enable nursing personnel to carry out the prescribed regime of care
			ordered for the patient e.g. medications, treatments, meal service,
			monitoring of vital signs, reaction to treatment/medications, food intake,
		c.	Prevent patients from entering Restricted Areas of the hospital e.g.
			Delivery Rooms, Operating Rooms, Radiation Treatment Rooms,
			Isolated Areas.
		d.	Prevent patients from wandering out-of-doors.
		e.	Allow nurses to observe patients at all time while they are under care in
			the hospital.

Maura Sostack, MLS, AHIP
Health Sciences Libraries @ Virtua Health
voice:  609-267-0700 ext. 43021
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.  Thank you!

This message, and any included attachments, are from Virtua Health or its related affiliates and is intended only for the addressee(s). The information contained herein is privileged, proprietary or may include confidential information and/or protected patient health information. Any unauthorized review, forwarding, printing, copying, distributing, or otherwise disseminating or taking any action based on such information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, or have reason to believe you are not authorized to receive it, please delete this message promptly and notify the sender by e-mail with a copy to [log in to unmask] 

Thank you