Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 730–733 | Cite as

What’s new in ICU visiting policies: can we continue to keep the doors closed?

  • Alberto GianniniEmail author
  • Maité Garrouste-Orgeas
  • Jos M. Latour
What's New in Intensive Care

Restricting visiting in ICUs is neither caring, compassionate, nor necessary.

Berwick DM, Kotagal M (JAMA 2004)

Twelve years ago, Hilmar Burchardi wrote in an editorial in Intensive Care Medicine that “it is time to acknowledge that the ICU must be a place where humanity has a high priority. It is time to open those ICUs which are still closed” [1]. The intervening period has undeniably brought about some changes in the direction indicated by Burchardi. However, the admission of patients to intensive care units (ICUs) still follows a “revolving door principle”: when the patient comes in, the family is sent out.

In the past few years several authoritative recommendations in favor of the liberalization of visiting policies in ICU have been published [ 1, 2, 3; see also Table  1]. Nevertheless, in many countries these recommendations have not significantly influenced our clinical practice. The literature gives a patchy picture of visiting policies, and the percentages of adult ICUs without...


Concession Intensive Care Medicine Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Ethical Level Revolving Door 
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Conflicts of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ESICM 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alberto Giannini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maité Garrouste-Orgeas
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jos M. Latour
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Pediatric Intensive Care UnitFondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda, Ospedale Maggiore PoliclinicoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Medical-Surgical Intensive Care UnitGroupe Hospitalièr Paris Saint JosephParisFrance
  3. 3.IAME, UMR 1137INSERMParisFrance
  4. 4.IAME, UMR 1137Paris Diderot UniversityParisFrance
  5. 5.Faculty of Health, Education and Society, School of Nursing and MidwiferyPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  6. 6.Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and MidwiferyCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  7. 7.Neonatal Intensive Care, Department of PediatricsErasmus MC-Sophia Children’s HospitalRotterdamThe Netherlands

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