Visiting Hours on Hospital Floors

  1. What are the "official" visiting hours on your unit? Are these hours enforced? If so, how? Do you limit the number of visitors a patient may have at one time? Children allowed? Even in a double room? Do visitors need a pass to come to your unit?

    Sending good thoughts out to all of you. Sue

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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   boggle
    On our med/surg floor, official visiting hours are 11 am til 8 pm, but these hours are very flexible. If family asks if they may come in at other times or stay late we pretty much tell them to visit when they feel they need to or when the patient wants them there the most. I tell them in advance that I will let them know if they are in the way or need to step out.

    We often have family spend much of the night at the bedside, as long as there is no roommate. We pull in a recliner or cot for them.

    BUT ours is 130 bed community hospital, and maintains a pretty neighborly atmosphere.

    I think if we are going to be calling in families at all hours of the night to sit with there confused, ill relatives ( our "no restraint " policy), then we better lighten up on strict visiting hour policies!!!.

    Dealing with too many visitors is tougher. Our nurses station is usually more noisy and disruptive to patient rest than the visitors are! I havn't got any tactful way to handle that yet!
  4. by   Reabock
    Our visiting hours are the same as Boggle's, in fact I would think we were working at the same place except the we are in different states,

    We now use sticky "Visitor" stickers for after hours folks and the only entrance open after 8PM is the ER so they have to go thru that door and get a sticker from the receptionist, these turn purple after exposure to light or sunlight for a while so folks can't use them more than one day.

    The ICU hours are different but if they are not busy, they tend to be more liberal also.
  5. by   jevans
    What a great idea sticky labels!

    I work in asmall hospital in the Uk with limited security. There is an intercom system for visitors to access the ward but as you can guess some kind people have given out the security number to some of the regular visitors.

    Our Unit states - we have open visiting but would prefer after 2pm due to therapies
    It is quite successful as visitors want their patient to get well.

    Any other solutions to our problem out there??
  6. by   fedupnurse
    Our policy (ICU) is 10a-2p, 4p-6p, 8:30p-10p. We do not allow kids usually if they are under 12 (we have a lot of VRE, MRSA, etc in the unit), and we take visiting over the hours on a case by case basis. We tend to havea real problem with more than 2 people in the room which is a nightmare if the patient codes and we also have a problem getting them to leave at 2 and 6 pm. The other problem we have is each visitor feels the need to ask the same questions as other visitors to the same patient. We tend to have 2 to 3 heavy patients and quiet frankly don't have time to answer the same thing 10 times. Even if you ask the contact person if it is ok to tell everyone at the same time and they say yes, we have sightseerers coming to the desk all the time. My other personal favorite is "We have been best friends for 40 years, we are like brothers." The person then hangs out the entire length of visiting and when he finally leaves the patient says "I haven't seen him in 35 years. Why the hell did he show up now? Don't people know we need rest???" I always explain the sightseerer phenomena. When someone hears someone is in the unit, they comeout of the woodwork like termites when the exterminator arrives! Anyone have this problem or is it just a Jersey thing?
    We used ot have passes but now the suits prefer to run the place like a hotel. Security (we aren't in such a great neighborhood) was much better and the only people that got in were people truly close to the patient. It also cut down on the same people hanging around for the full 4 hour block of time.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    My favorite critical care units were Methodist Hospital in Dallas...I LOVED doing agency shifts there.......where unit doors were buzzed open for staff and visitors by the unit clerk....she had a video and intercom system and checked everyone out. We all felt so safe and could do good jobs because visiting hours were strictly enforced and the nurse still had the right of refusal if the patient was unstable, etc.

    I am more and more concerned about hospital security in this day of 'keep the customer happy'. Visitors too often disrupt important care, unit function and are NOT helpful to critically ill patients....who need their rest. Many nurses allow visitors in anytime...ignoring visiting times.... in order to 'please' them and look good....that is not always best for their patients. Also causes 'waiting room envy' if everyone doesn't get the same privilege.

    I agree Fedupnurse, too many 'sightseers' in the critical care units today.
  8. by   LauraRN0501
    We are a Planetree hospital, and we have NO visiting hours. People can come all day and night if they want. There are no limit to the number of visitors a patient can have, and no age restrictions, either. It's all good in theory (the pt recovers more quickly if they are supported, etc.) but it can get VERY tiresome trying to get things done with 10 people in the room, all judging what you are doing. I don't mind in certain situations if people are there at odd hours, but when it's simply because it's fun to be able to visit at 1 am, that gets a little old. The only good thing is that after 8 pm, the front doors are locked and a security guard has to let all visitors in. That way we can keep anyone who is "obviously" impaired or violent out. Note the "obviously."

    L.
  9. by   Anagray
    Our visiting hours are 11-8, but noone abides by those rules, which makes sense sometimes. There were many times when a patient was so sick that noone knew how much time she or he had left - why not let the family hang out .
    i think the biggest problem i encountered is not the violation of visitation hours, but too many people visiting a patient at the same time or people bringing toddlers and young children to the unit on daily basis.

    I don't know if this sounds like a good idea to all of you, but I would like to see some kind of babysitting center on hospital grounds, where a person could drop off their child for an hour, so they can visit a patient.
  10. by   fiestynurse
    Visiting hours here are 11am - 9pm. Signs are posted on every floor. There is also a general announcement at about 8:50pm, stating that visiting hours will soon be over, please leave quietly.
    Any visitors left need to check-in at the nurses station to make sure that it is O.K. Children under 12 are not allowed unless they are the sibling or child of the patient. Security makes rounds at about 10:00pm and doors are locked, so any stray visitors wandering around the hospital are questioned. Empty rooms are also checked.

    I also worked at a hospital, where visitors had to check-in when entering the facility. They needed to state who they were visiting and how long they would be there. They also screened any children for communicable diseases prior to entering. The screening form was handed to the charge nurse at each nurses station before the child could go in the room.

    All kinds of issues arise with visitors (Security, Communicable Diseases. etc.) and I think it is important to have good policies and procedures in place. Nurses really need to advocate for the patient in this instance and make sure that visitors are not interfering with the recovery of their patients.
  11. by   Jenny P
    We have open visiting hours in our CV-ICU unit; and visitors are told that the RN at the bedside makes the decision about how long, how many, and who may visit. Visitors are also told that what the bedside RN says is to be followed; because he/she is the one who actually knows what is going on with the pt. at that time.
    It does happen that visitors may complain that the previous nurse let them stay at the bedside while the current nurse is trying to kick them out, but we remind the pt. that the current nurse is aware of what the pt. needs AT THIS TIME! Most visitors will back down at that point because of the critical status of their loved ones then.
  12. by   fergus51
    Ours are much stricter than most of yours. In L&D it's 24 hours a day and in PP it's 24 hours a day for dads, but on med-surg it's 3:30-8:30 PM and strictly enforced. The only time we let people stay longer is if they are family and someone is dying or really needs family nearby for another reason (notice the word really!). Otherwise they get booted out. Patients have actually thanked me for kicking guests out because they needed to rest.
    Last edit by fergus51 on May 28, '02
  13. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    L&D - 24 hours a day

    Post Partum - 10am - 8:30pm. Dads are 24 hours a day. Unit is on lockdown after 8:30pm.

    NICU - the only restricted times are during report 7-7:30 am & pm.

    Heather
  14. by   pghfoxfan
    I work in a CVICU and our Visiting hours are from 1:30pm -2:00pm and again from 7:00pm -8:00pm. No children under 12 years old. We try to be as liberal as possible especially if the pt is dying or if the family travels far.

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