Author Affiliations: Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Boston, Mass.
The sickest patients lie in intensive care units (ICUs) facing fearful
illness; surrounded by overwhelming noise from pulsating ventilators and monitors;
invaded by the necessary ministrations of nurses; and overhearing, if they
are awake, strange and portentous conversations. Professionals buzz about
them, but these patients are mostly alone, separated from those who love them
by restrictive ICU visiting policies, except at rigidly specified times or
with the doled-out permission of the ICU staff. Restricting visiting in ICUs
is neither caring, compassionate, nor necessary.
Berwick DM, Kotagal M. Restricted Visiting Hours in ICUs: Time to Change. JAMA. 2004;292(6):736–737. doi:10.1001/jama.292.6.736
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