Visiting policies in the adult intensive care units in the Netherlands: Survey among ICU directors

K. Noordermeer, T.A. Rijpstra, D. Newhall, A.J.M. Pelle, N.J.M. van der Meer

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Admission to the ICU is a significant event for patients and their families and is often accompanied by stress, anxiety and depression. Literature shows that implementation of “unrestricted visiting policy” (UP) can potentially alleviate psychologically distressing elements of ICU admission. 
A web-based questionnaire was sent to all ICU’s concerning three main topics: general ICU information, detailed visiting policy information, and rationale for the chosen policy. 
87.1% of ICU’s retain “restricted visiting policies” (RVP; ≤five visiting hours per day). Knowledge about the current literature was overall 60.8%. There is an UP in two academic hospitals and a “partly restricted policy” (PRP; >5 visiting hours per day but <24) in two academic, two large teaching and five general hospitals. Mean permissible duration in ICU’s with a RVP was min versus min in the PRP. 
Nine out of ten ICU’s still have a restricted visiting policy. The main reasons cited for a restricted visiting policy were potential interference with the daily clinical routine and privacy. A better knowledge of the current literature in combination with infrastructural changes might improve patients’ outcome by reducing stress for the patient and its family.
Original languageEnglish
Article number137045
JournalISRN Critical Care
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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