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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2010 February;76(2):93-99

language: English

Open intensive care units: a regional survey about the beliefs and attitudes of healthcare professionals

Biancofiore G., Bindi L. M., Barsotti E., Menichini S., Baldini S.

Anestesia e Rianimazione SSN, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Cisanello Hospital, Pisa, Italy


AIM: We aimed at assessing the opinion and degree of acceptance of physicians and nurses in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) toward an open ICU as our regional ethical committee has advised that ICU visitation policies be reformed using such a new approach.
METHODS: This was a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter survey using the Beliefs and Attitudes toward Visitation in ICU Questionnaire mailed to the ICUs in our region.
RESULTS: A total of 28 ICUs were invited, and 25 agreed to participate in this survey; 377 nurses and 230 physicians were surveyed with overall response rates of 94.9%% and 84.7%%, respectively. Nurses considered an open visiting policy to be an infringement on patient privacy (P<0.01), a possible interference with interactions between caregivers (P<0.01) and an impediment to their duties (P<0.05). They also significantly differed from physicians in considering open visitations a cause of more adverse hemodynamic events (P<0.05) and higher physiological and psychological stress for patients (P<0.05). With regard to attitudes, nurses strongly disagreed more frequently with the following: allowing everyone to visit the patient, accepting an open visitation policy in their unit, giving control of the visitation policy to the patient (P<0.01) and adapting visitation to the culture/ethnicity of the patients (P<0.0001).
CONCLUSIONS: This study points out that, in our region, physicians are more liberal and able than nurses to “customize” their wards to the specific psychosocial and emotional needs of patients and visitors.

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