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Authors

  1. Hanley, Julie Boyer MSN, RN
  2. Piazza, Julie MS, CCLS

Abstract

To guide family adjustment, an effort was made to facilitate pediatric visitation in an adult intensive care unit (ICU). Goals were to improve customer satisfaction and to raise staff comfort level with child visitation. After implementing an open visitation policy, concerns around pediatric visitation in the ICU remained. Fears centered on risks to both patient and child. Literature was reviewed before a book was written entitled A Visit to the ICU. It contained information about what a child visiting the ICU would see, hear, and feel when visiting a loved one. The book provided reassurance for caregivers and children, informing them about what to expect when visiting. The goal of the book was to provide caregivers with a framework for age-appropriate education. Staff education was provided on developmental stages, including a child's understandings of illness and death. Nursing interventions were reviewed and resources provided. A survey demonstrated that the book increased staff comfort level with children visiting the unit, was a positive tool for patients and families, and eased fears among children while helping to facilitate coping mechanisms. The article will describe the practice change of pediatric visitation in an ICU and how it could be applied to other critical care settings.