ICU Visitor's Policy/Visiting hours

Specialties CCU


Specializes in Hospice, Critical Care.

Our 18-bed ICU is having difficulty with our visitors' policy and I have been asked to head up a committee to revamp our policy. I am interested in getting other hospitals' policies to see what works best.

- Do you have limited visiting hours? If so, what are they and are they enforced?

- Do your visitors have free entry into the unit or must they be "buzzed" back in? Are the doors locked?

- Are visitors required to call into the unit before entering?

- Is your waiting room staffed with a volunter or staff member to help visitors?

- What have you done to make your visitors' lounge comfortable/more inviting to visitors?

We have 4 visiting times a day, 1/2 hour each. We request only 2 visitors at a time, no children. Visitors are to call into the unit before entering. HOWEVER, we frequently have people entering the unit freely without calling, walking into sterile procedures, codes, intubations, and hygiene-times. We have 2 entries and neither are locked. People simply disregard our posted signs. Your help is appreciated!

We have just changed our visiting hrs from open to 3x/day. 9AM-12N, 2PM-6PM, & 8PM-10PM. So far it's been pretty successful, although I am a strong advocate for as much open visiting as possible. (That's what the national research has demonstrated is best for the patients) We have 1 unlocked entrance, and families come to the station to ask if they can visit. No volunteer in waiting room. Waiting room is quite comfortable with TV, phones, and coffee/rolls served by Guest Services people. Occasionally we let people stay with patient, at the discretion of the RN. Have had very little problems with families when the visiting is more liberal. Have been on the receiving end of stringent visiting, and it's not fun. Creates more anxiety on both the patient and family end.

I agree with open visiting too. Check the AACN on this (800) 899-AACN

There does need to be privacy for the patients. The physical setup makes limited visiting necessary sometimes. Those units with only curtains around small spaces for example.


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