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December 8, 2004

Restrictions on Family Presence in the ICU

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(22):2721-2722. doi:10.1001/jama.292.22.2721-a

To the Editor: The Commentary by Dr Berwick and Ms Kotagal1 suggests that (presumably adult) intensive care units (ICUs) should allow unrestricted visiting hours for families despite perceived barriers to such change, including exacerbation of physiologic stress to the patient, interference with provision of care, and family exhaustion. The pediatric ICU (PICU) at my institution has allowed unlimited visiting hours for parents and family members for more than a decade. Parents are allowed to sleep in their child’s room on fold-out comforters. We limit the number of visitors to 2 persons at a time primarily because of room size constraints. I believe that the concerns used to support visiting hour restrictions are completely mitigated when unlimited visitation is permitted.