Visiting Policies in ICUs

  • Matteo Manici
  • Francesca Ghillani


Over the past two decades, ICUs have been rapidly transformed by the technological development of medicine. Nevertheless, in ICUs the human dimension of the patient and the relationships between healthcare professionals, patients, and their families remain extremely important. For this reason, visiting policies in ICUs need a critical examination. Drawing from insights developed in the fields of medical humanities and the more recent HEROIC Bundle, in this chapter we will analyze the most prominent studies about open visiting policies in ICUs, as an important step toward the humanization of care. Particularly, advantages and disadvantages of open visiting policies will be taken into consideration from the point of view of families, patients, and healthcare professionals, reflecting upon crucial aspects including communication methods, the access of children, and the presence of the family during CPR. Aspects such as visiting hours, number of visitors, and dressing procedures will also be examined, with a particular focus on the levels of infections. We will argue that patients, their families, and healthcare professionals can benefit from open visiting policies. ICUs should become welcoming wards where humanity has high priority and all human rights are respected, as requested by various scientific societies, institutions, and bioethics committees.


Visiting policies Medical humanities Patient Relatives ICUs 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matteo Manici
    • 1
  • Francesca Ghillani
    • 2
  1. 1.Anesthesia, Intensive Care and Hub Pain ServiceUniversity Hospital of ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Research Fellow, Oxford Institute of Population AgeingUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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