1. Adams, Sheila RN, BSN, MSN, MHA
  2. Herrera, Amando III, RN, BSN, CCRN, CPAN
  3. Miller, Laura RN, MSN
  4. Soto, Rhonda RN


Evidence-based practice has shown that open visitation in the intensive care setting positively impacts patient outcomes. However, many intensive care units continue to strictly limit visitation hours. One concern for nurses is that open visitation will expose their vulnerable patients to an increased risk of infection. This fear is unfounded in professional literature as well as in the experience of a busy intensive care unit in San Antonio, Texas. Keeping our patients safe from hospital-acquired infections requires vigilant attention to infection prevention procedures. Meanwhile, what may actually be bugging our patients is a health care culture that is based on tradition and is blind to the many benefits provided by a more liberal visitation policy rooted in patient-centered care.