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News: Hospitals often adopt restrictive ICU visitor policies with visiting time of merely 15 minutes to max 2 hours in rare cases. This has to change for the betterment of Patient and Hospitals.
Reasons behind the restrictive ICU visitor policy
1) Decrease the risk of infections 2) Disturbance in the patient’s rest 3) Interference in the clinical tasks. 4) Increase in the workload of hospital staff to manage guests.
Why there is a need to increase the visitation hours?
First, The ICU ambiance with constant lights, equipment noise, etc often results in delirium among ICU patients, which can raise their risk of death. With loved ones near to them and more caregiving by the family, led to a decrease in the anxiety and trust deficit with the medical team. Lancet study, reveals that in-person or virtual family visitation reduced the risk of delirium in patients by 27%.
Second, Studies show that ICU with expanded visitation hours has not seen an increase in hospital-acquired infection rates. Various campaigns like Better together and ICU Liberation campaign, launched in North America to urge hospitals to allow loved ones at the bedside round the clock.
What policies should the hospitals adopt?
During the pandemic time, most of the ICUs completely banned the visitor’s entry owing to an increase in the risk of infections. Seropositivity Survey also suggests that up to 2/3rd of the population has been exposed to the covid virus.
But, hospitals need to understand that family and loved ones are not really visitors, but valuable partners in patient care. So, there is a need to ease the restrictions in the ICU visitation timings.
Source: This post is based on the article “Hospitals should rationalize their pandemic protocols” published in the Livemint On 15th December 2021.