HealthDay News — A change from minimally restricted to unrestricted visitation hours is associated with improved satisfaction among patients’ family members, according to a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Critical Care.

Diane K. Chapman, D.N.P., from the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and colleagues examined satisfaction among patients’ family members and nurses after a transition from minimally restrictive to unrestricted visitation hours. The visitation guidelines in a 24-bed intensive care unit were changed from being closed during nursing hand-off report to open at all times. Family members visiting patients (50 before and 53 after change in policy) and all nurses (61 before and 67 after change in policy) were surveyed using validated instruments before and after the transition.

The researchers observed a significant improvement in family members’ satisfaction with the change to unrestricted visitation hours, with satisfaction reported with the convenience of visitation hours and waiting room ambience. There was also an improvement in nurses’ perceptions of families’ satisfaction. There was no change in nurses’ satisfaction.


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“These findings support open and patient-centered visitation guidelines in critical care settings,” the authors write.

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