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critical care, evidence-based practice, family-centered care, visitation



  1. Whitcomb, John A.
  2. Roy, Deborha
  3. Blackman, Virginia Schmied


Background: The dissatisfaction of family members with a restrictive visiting policy in a combined intensive care and step-down unit provides an opportunity for staff to develop better ways to meet the needs of patients and their families. A review of the evidence-based practice (EBP) literature as the measure of significance indicated that less restrictive visitation policies enhance patient and family satisfaction and offer many physiologic and psychological benefits to the patient.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a less restrictive visitation policy could be implemented in the adult critical care department of a naval medical center.


Methods: Staff was educated on the use of EBP, specifically the Iowa-based model, and a less restrictive visitation policy was developed and implemented.


Results: Evaluation of the postintervention survey findings revealed higher patient and family satisfaction.


Conclusions: The findings from this EBP project suggest that a more open visitation policy is feasible in adult critical care units, with an increase in overall satisfaction of patients and their families with regard to their stay in the intensive care unit.