Patient Care and ICU Visitors

What do you do if your mother, sister, husband or father lands in an ICU? Do you stay or do you go? There are more than 5 million sufferers admitted to an ICU a year. The ICU is a special unit where sufferers who have severe and deadly illnesses are given patient care by specialized doctors and nursing employees. These sufferers require constant monitoring and support with unique devices and medications to maintain normal bodily processes. The majority of U.S. healthcare centers have restrictions on visitation rights. Close relatives need open visitation rights because it decreases patient anxiety and improves their comfort.

Intensive care patientMost adult intensive care units have some type of limited viewing hours that limit the number of family members who can visit and the time they can stay at the room. Across ICUs there is no standardization in viewing guidelines. Moreover, there may even be different visitation rights guidelines in various ICUs in the same hospital! Close relatives can be limited to 10 minutes of visitation rights every hour or be allowed to visit any time they want. Also, how healthcare center employees implement and understand the same visitation rights guidelines can be dissimilar. This variability is a cause of pressure for nursing employees, families and sufferers. Hospitals are attempting for excellence and are now focused on family-centered patient care. Close relatives play an essential part in the ICU individual’s recovery, so an essential part of family center care is open visitation rights. Patients place a high value on having family members at their room, offering them a sense of security in a highly technological innovation driven atmosphere.

The ICU is a stressful place full of sounds, unknown people and devices. Having a familiar face at the room can decrease individual pressure and duration of stay and help respond to questions in the ICU. Also, it improves individual quality, safety and satisfaction. To see relatives, it improves communication with healthcare employees, allows family members to be involved with patient care and contributes to better understanding of the healthcare world. In addition, families cannot affect the functioning of the ICU. Infection disease precautions may be needed that can restrict visitation rights. If an ICU patient is in a shared room and this can happen, guests may be asked to leave temporarily if immediate lifesaving measures are required or sensitive conversations need to occur with another patient.

The Move to Hospice Care

Although most individuals would want to die quietly in a relaxed establishment, a new research reveals that almost one in three spend some time in the intensive-care unit of a hospital in their last month of life, while a similar number only get hospice care a few days before passing away. And 40 percent of those late hospice care recommendations come right after an ICU stay, the researchers mentioned. “People end up with these very brief stays in hospice care,” said research writer Dr. Joan Teno, a lecturer of health services, plan and practice at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, in Providence, R.I. “Those brief stays are difficult on the sufferers and the family members. They don’t benefit from hospice’s psychosocial assistance for sufferers and their loved ones.”


Another professional put it this way: “I think what has occurred is that we’re using hospice care as a last resort. It’s something we do when individuals have gotten so bad that they can’t reply to any possible involvement,” said Dr. Mary Tinetti, chief of geriatrics and lecturer of internal medicine and public health at the Yale University School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital. “Hospice care should be used as a treatment for those who are targeted on total well being,” said Tinetti, who is also the co-author of an article associated with the research. “Some individuals are going to want to have access to modern care prior to the process.”

The research analyzed a unique sample of 20 % of fee-for-service Medicare recipients who passed away in 2000, 2005 and 2009. Each year, fewer individuals passed away in the medical center, according to the research. In 2000, 32.6 % passed away in the medical center. In 2005, 26.9 % passed away under hospice care and 24.6 % did so during 2009. At one time, however, the use of the intensive-care unit in the last 30 days of life increased for every time frame. In 2000, 24.3 % of individuals were in the ICU in their last month. By 2005, that number was 26.3 %, and during 2009, it had increased to 29.2 %.