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clinical nurse specialist, intensive care units, open visitation



  1. Suba, Sukardi MS, RN
  2. Donesky, DorAnne PhD, RN, ANP-BC, ACHPN
  3. Scruth, Elizabeth Ann PhD, MPH, RN, CCNS, CCRN, FCCM
  4. Carrieri-Kohlman, Virginia PhD, RN, FAAN


Background: Current evidence shows that an open visitation policy can benefit patients and families during intensive care unit (ICU) stays. Therefore, an unrestricted visitation policy in the ICU has been proposed as part of patient-centered care.


Purpose: The purpose of this secondary analysis is to explore the likelihood of an ICU with a clinical nurse specialist (CNS) having an open visitation policy when compared with an ICU without a CNS.


Design: This is a secondary analysis of a survey conducted between 2008 and 2009, describing the ICU visitation practices in more than 600 hospitals across the United States.


Methods: [chi]2 Analysis was performed comparing the presence of CNS in the ICU with visitation policies, with P < 0.05 considered statistically significant.


Results: There were data from 347 hospitals used in the analysis, with 47 hospitals (13.5%) having open visitation policies. There were 108 hospitals (31%) that had a CNS present in the ICU; 14 of the hospitals (13%) had open visitation policies. No significant correlation was found between a CNS being present in the ICU and open visitation policy (odds ratio, 0.93; P = .83), regardless of hospital geographic regions.


Conclusions: Although CNS presence was not associated with open visitation in this study, given the strong evidence to support the benefits to patients and the CNS role as a change agent in the hospital system, liberalization of visitation in the ICU is an area that could benefit from CNS advocacy.