Family members need their proximity to be close to the patients. This has been an issue of debate, characterized by myriad of controversies, involving nurses, families and patients. As Lockwood notes, a section of the nursing fraternity strongly hold that restricted visitation is the way to go (Lockwood, B. 2010).The position assumed by this group of practitioners fails to be in harmony with what Vickie believes as the right thing to do.
To Vickie, flexible or open visitation is good for the family and the patient, but at the discretion of the nursing practitioner. She contends that “while sometimes visitation may be inconvenient for the nurses”, the goal of nursing is always to give “the best possible care” for their patients (Vickie, A., 2005).She further notes that there is nothing wrong doing what is in the best interest of the patient (Vickie, A., 2005), even though some of her nursing colleagues had totally different views concerning this flexible visitation.
Partly in support of (Vickie, A., 2005), is Henneman and Dewa who posit that open visitation is significant in helping improve the condition of the patient and satisfy the needs of both the patient and the family at the same time (Henneman EA, McKenzie JB, & Dewa CS, 1992, 85-93)
The common knowledge held by many nurses supporting restrictive visitation, as Armellino, Griffin,and Fitzpatrick confirms, is that the limited visitations in critical care units is needed to provide safety and protection of the patient from what the nurses perceive as acting in the best interest of the patient. (Armellino, DW. Griffin, M. T., & Fitzpatrick, J J., 2010).
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These are indications that research studies that have so far been conducted by different professionals have not yet helped solve the many controversies existing between restrictive and open visitation policies. The policies have incessantly faced many challenges from either sides, the family versus nurses, nurses against themselves, and patients at the mercies of the two decision makers (Smith, et al,2009).
In their research work published in a journal titled, “Journal of Nursing Care Quality”, Patricia Roland, Janet Russell among others, highlights that the need to look into the effects caused by restrictive visiting as opposed to open visiting had been facilitated by the dissatisfaction state of the family members against the restrictive visiting policy. “When family members became dissatisfied with a restrictive visiting policy in a combined coronary and medical intensive care unit, this situation was seen as an opportunity to better meet patient and family needs” (Roland PB, Russell, JR, Richard KC, & Sullivan, SC., 2001).According to the “Journal of Nursing Care Quality”, some literature reviews also showed that “open visitation policies enhanced patient and family satisfaction” (Roland PB, Russell, JR, Richard KC, & Sullivan, SC., 2001).
In line with all these issues raised, this paper, therefore, endeavors to investigate and re-assess the impacts that are likely to be brought about by limited versus open visitation in the critical care units. To what extent will restricted visitation policies hamper or improve the conditions of the patients? How about open visitation policies; do they have greater impacts as compared to the limited visits? These are a few of the questions that this paper will be seeking to address elaborately.
Armellino, DW. Griffin, M. T., & Fitzpatrick, J J. Journal of Nursing Management. Health
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Lockwood, B. Workplace culture and critical thinking. Dissertations & Theses. United
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Roland PB, Russell, JR, Richard KC, & Sullivan, SC .Journal of Nursing Care Quality.
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Smith, et al .The Impact of Hospital Visiting Hour Policies on Pediatric and Adult
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