Family Visitation in the PACU - page 4

by smidgen21 | 21,247 Views | 44 Comments

undefinedI work in a 6 bed PACU in central Michigan. We have 5 OR rooms and 2 Endo rooms. Our administration is considering allowing family visitation in the PACU (currently we allow visitors only for extreme circumstances,... Read More


  1. 1
    Quote from nursenurse
    There is no consistency in enforcing any visitation policy - even from nurse to nurse.
    right on!
    this is something that is happening elsewhere - in my institution alone it happens. we dont allow friends/families inside our PACU for various reasons (some mentioned in this thread). but sometimes, for fear of being reported to the upper management (in cases of "high profile clients" or relative doctors) some nurses do allow.
    however sometimes, the doctors are the one who allow relatives inside PACU, so once there are other relatives who wish to visit, they simply mention that others were allowed by the doctor. of course, by their perception doctors are of high ranking people compared to nurses. then the threats start when we dont allow (which actually happened to me!)

    in special cases like pedia or with psych problems we do allow.

    IMO, there should be no visitors allowed excpet special cases.
    Lillyhorn likes this.
  2. 0
    My unit is almost strictly pediatric, though--what do you guys think about that? Should we allow parents in Phase I Pacu on a regular basis? We have 1 to 1 nursing in this area, but the bed spaces are close and only curtains between.
  3. 0
    I'll just throw my $0.02 in here.
    Phase 1, no visitors UNLESS the patient has been there for a good length of time (hours), bed placement is nowhere is site, 1 or 2 people for 5 minutes, and only if there isn't a fresh post-op or someone crashing. Yes, it is harsh and some patients don't like it. No food or drink, maybe a few ice chips if the patient's been out awhile and the curtain is pulled.

    I used to work in an open heart recovery where people could wander back anytime and I HATED it. Nope, sorry, don't have time to tell you what all those tubes and numbers mean. I'm just worried about the numbers that say 1.5 and 69/40 right now!

    Anyways, Phase 2 allows 2 visitors to stay, and they provide food/drinks. If Phase 1 is really backed up holding for beds then we put all those people in one area and curtain it off from the rest of PACU. One nurse is assigned to that area and we allow limited visitors.

    Pediatric patients, we just try to get out ASAP. We only do peds ENT cases (T&A or tubes) so there isn't really any reasons to hold them very long to warrant the parents coming in.
  4. 0
    I have to say that it is all in the way you do your teaching with the family. I know that according to ASPAN they are trying to encourage more family visitation in the PACU. I work in a hospital based ambulatory surgery department. Our post-op area is a combined PACU/post-op so we do allow family and are very comfortable with it. We make sure the patient is stable, good pain control, minimal nausea and requesting family. If the patient does not want family we don't get them but keep the family informed. We do get parents/family of ped patients as soon as patient is awake and stable. If I am to receive a patient I just inform my other patient(s) and family that I may be busy for a little while. We truly have not had major problems and our patients and family like being able to see each other.
    In response to the nurse that had to resusitate a visitor, aren't we there to help people whether they are our patients or not?
  5. 0
    The unit i work in is piloting a visitation for family times as follows: you pt has to have been there for an hour before a visit can happen. at 45 min past the hour, our secretary makes an announcement that 'visitation will start in 10 minutes'. if you pt can't have visitors for whatever reason (usually pain control, anxiety, hemodynamic/ airway issues), the RN lets the secretary know so that she can call back to the waiting area to hold visitors for that patient for that hour.

    10 minutes later, a waiting room rn/tech escorts families to PACU. Our secretary makes a loudspeaker announcement that 'it is now visiting time in the pacu'. it is made ABUNDANTLY clear prior to visitation that it is a 10 minute visit ONLY, and that when it is time to go, they must go. at the end of 10 minutes, the rn/tech will collect all family, and head back to waiting area. only 2 family members are allowed at a time. if different family members want to come the next hour, great.

    hourly visitation can be held for a variety of reasons for the entire unit, but mainly if there is an airway issue / code event. if that happens, then visiting resumes the next hour provided that everything has resolved or at least calmed down.

    a couple observations: for us, this works for several reasons
    1)we are NOT an 1 huge room pacu with just curtains. We are 3 sided bays (imagine a rectangle with bays all around, secretary desk in middle with pyxis). this would be a disaster in the previous pacu i worked in, as it was TINY and has no privacy.
    2)our secretary and waiting room staff are very hardcore/ firm with visitation. you have to be unified and present a strong front! otherwise you end up with people pushing all the limits you can get
    3)we are mainly adult population. rarely do we get peds, and there is 1 family member allowed to sit with a peds pt, mainly due to space. the rest may come visit during the hourly visits

    this is still not perfect, but seems to appease the urge for family to see their loved one after surgery. i realize that we are better staffed then most, so this helps too!

    Things that would be even more helpful:
    -when the surgeons talk to the family they tell them that it may be another hour before they come to recovery! i HATE it when the MDs say 'oh, they'll be done soon', when in actuality they haven't taken down the drapes, or even extubated yet!
    -there should be a screening for visitors such as "do you feel sick when u see blood or medical stuff?" i had a visitor pass out and hit her head on the sharps box while doing so, and then her family told me "oh, she faints at the sight of blood". Well, don't come visit then on the off chance that you MAY see some!
  6. 0
    PACU Phase I - Visitors allowed ONLY if their family has been waiting for hours (for 5 minutes at the most) and NOTHING ELSE is going on. Otherwise, NO.

    PACU PHASE II - Expected so that family can obtain instructions. Feeding? Only juice and crackers. They can go get food when they are discharged.
  7. 0
    I have experienced every example you cited!!! It is really quite incredible. And then the visitors are SO often diabetics, and they feel queasy, and need some juice, and how about some crackers? Oh, that's all you have? But I haven't eaten all day either and my blood sugar is low...or I just saw some blood and feel faint...oops, I'm getting another call on my cellphone with its really loud ringtone... our pastor and neighbors and everyone else we know is out in the waiting room too, why can't they all come back? Are you sure she should get that fentanyl? I looked it up on the internet and it said it's dangerous.. why is that patient's monitor alarming? and on and on and on....
  8. 0
    I don't like visitors there; they can't help but be nosy. If we have to let them in, it is all of 5 minutes. Some don't like it--they don't like the loss of control--but I don't like them there when I have confused, post-anesthesized patient (who is NOT their family) and they are stripping naked--it's scary looking to laypeople and they don't need to be witnesses to it.

    They are also WAY TOO NOSY and don't understand HIPPA. You know the type...."Oh my, what happened to them?" (pointing across to patient who is NOT their family).

    Very annoying.
  9. 0
    In response to the nurse that had to resusitate a visitor, aren't we there to help people whether they are our patients or not?[/QUOTE]

    Yes and No.

    Yes, you have to call others to help you to institute whatever rescue protocol you have at the hospital/facility where you work.

    And No. If your anesthesized patient is not yet fully awake, and requiring oral/nasal/jaw assistance. That's big liability. Especially with KIDS.
  10. 0
    Quote from campbahoo
    I have to say that it is all in the way you do your teaching with the family. I know that according to ASPAN they are trying to encourage more family visitation in the PACU. I work in a hospital based ambulatory surgery department. Our post-op area is a combined PACU/post-op so we do allow family and are very comfortable with it. We make sure the patient is stable, good pain control, minimal nausea and requesting family. If the patient does not want family we don't get them but keep the family informed. We do get parents/family of ped patients as soon as patient is awake and stable. If I am to receive a patient I just inform my other patient(s) and family that I may be busy for a little while. We truly have not had major problems and our patients and family like being able to see each other.
    In response to the nurse that had to resusitate a visitor, aren't we there to help people whether they are our patients or not?



    If your patient is still asleep (especially a pedi) and you have to worry about mom fainting--who's keeping an eye on the pedi? No; that fainting mom is 2nd in priority.

    I usually tell parents (kindly) to "man up" and put on "big girl panties". If they can't handle, they can come and see them when they can.

    I am a tough cookie..but parents respect what I ask them to do and I've had no problems.


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