This action states

The health service organisation admitting patients overnight has processes that allow flexible visiting arrangements to meet patients’ needs, when it is safe to do so

Intent

Flexible visitation contributes to improved safety and quality of care for patients.
 

Reflective question

What processes are in place to support flexible visiting arrangements?

Key tasks

  • Review policies, procedures or protocols about visiting arrangements
  • Ensure that infrastructure and supports are available to provide flexible visiting arrangements
  • Monitor the effectiveness of flexible visiting arrangements.

Strategies for improvement

Hospitals

The unrestricted presence and participation of a support person can improve the safety of care, and patient and family satisfaction. By facilitating unrestricted access for a chosen support person(s), patients can be provided with emotional and social support.

For patients, flexible visiting can reduce anxiety, confusion and agitation. It can make them feel safe and increase their satisfaction with the care provided. Flexible visiting arrangements can also increase satisfaction for family members and reduce their anxiety. It can promote communication and allow family members to learn about the patient’s condition, because they are involved in their care.

Although there are perceived concerns with unrestricted visiting hours – such as family members getting in the way when care is provided, potential for increased infections and family members overextending the hours they visit – these barriers are not supported by evidence.

Support flexible visiting arrangements by developing or revising the organisation’s policies and procedures on visiting arrangements to allow unrestricted visiting hours, if practicable. Include information about limiting visitation for those who infringe on the rights of others, or whose presence is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.1

The governing body and management should provide leadership and support for changes in visiting arrangements. Document these changes to ensure that there is clear direction for implementation. Communicate changes to the workforce through established communication channels, at orientation and through ongoing education, and during the professional development process.

Consider how patients and carers are advised about their right to identify a partner in care and inform them about how they can be involved. Document the patient’s preferences about the chosen support person and their level of involvement in the patient’s healthcare record.

Some other examples of strategies can be found in the Canadian Better Together campaign and the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care Better Together campaign.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about visiting rights of patients, including any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that the health service organisation may have
  • Consumer and carer information packages or resources that inform consumers of visiting policies or guidelines
  • Availability of different types of accommodation to meet patients’ needs (for example, visitor waiting rooms, family rooms, quiet rooms).

Day Procedure Services

This action is not applicable for day procedure services that do not admit patients overnight.

Day procedure services that admit patients overnight (for example, those with 23-hour licences) should refer to the advice for hospitals for detailed implementation strategies and examples of evidence for this action.

MPS & Small Hospitals

The unrestricted presence and participation of a support person can improve the safety of care, and patient and family satisfaction. By facilitating unrestricted access for a chosen support person(s), patients can be provided with emotional and social support.

MPSs and small hospitals should consider:

  • Reviewing policies, procedures or protocols about visiting arrangements
  • Ensuring that infrastructure and supports are available to provide flexible visiting arrangements
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of flexible visiting arrangements.

For patients, flexible visiting can reduce anxiety, confusion and agitation. It can make them feel safe and increase their satisfaction with the care provided. Flexible visiting arrangements can also increase satisfaction for family members and reduce their anxiety. It can promote communication and allow family members to learn about the patient’s condition, because they are involved in their care.

Although there are perceived concerns with unrestricted visiting hours – such as family members getting in the way when care is provided, potential for increased infections and family members overextending the hours they visit – these barriers are not supported by evidence.

Consider how patients and carers are advised about their right to identify a partner in care and inform them about how they can be involved. Document the patient’s preferences about the chosen support person and their level of involvement in the patient’s healthcare record.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about visiting rights of patients, including any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that the health service organisation may have
  • Consumer and carer information packages or resources that inform consumers of visiting policies or guidelines
  • Availability of different types of accommodation to meet patients’ needs (for example, visitor waiting rooms, family rooms, quiet rooms).

Hospitals

The unrestricted presence and participation of a support person can improve the safety of care, and patient and family satisfaction. By facilitating unrestricted access for a chosen support person(s), patients can be provided with emotional and social support.

For patients, flexible visiting can reduce anxiety, confusion and agitation. It can make them feel safe and increase their satisfaction with the care provided. Flexible visiting arrangements can also increase satisfaction for family members and reduce their anxiety. It can promote communication and allow family members to learn about the patient’s condition, because they are involved in their care.

Although there are perceived concerns with unrestricted visiting hours – such as family members getting in the way when care is provided, potential for increased infections and family members overextending the hours they visit – these barriers are not supported by evidence.

Support flexible visiting arrangements by developing or revising the organisation’s policies and procedures on visiting arrangements to allow unrestricted visiting hours, if practicable. Include information about limiting visitation for those who infringe on the rights of others, or whose presence is medically or therapeutically contraindicated.1

The governing body and management should provide leadership and support for changes in visiting arrangements. Document these changes to ensure that there is clear direction for implementation. Communicate changes to the workforce through established communication channels, at orientation and through ongoing education, and during the professional development process.

Consider how patients and carers are advised about their right to identify a partner in care and inform them about how they can be involved. Document the patient’s preferences about the chosen support person and their level of involvement in the patient’s healthcare record.

Some other examples of strategies can be found in the Canadian Better Together campaign and the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care Better Together campaign.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about visiting rights of patients, including any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that the health service organisation may have
  • Consumer and carer information packages or resources that inform consumers of visiting policies or guidelines
  • Availability of different types of accommodation to meet patients’ needs (for example, visitor waiting rooms, family rooms, quiet rooms).

Day Procedure Services

This action is not applicable for day procedure services that do not admit patients overnight.

Day procedure services that admit patients overnight (for example, those with 23-hour licences) should refer to the advice for hospitals for detailed implementation strategies and examples of evidence for this action.

MPS & Small Hospitals

The unrestricted presence and participation of a support person can improve the safety of care, and patient and family satisfaction. By facilitating unrestricted access for a chosen support person(s), patients can be provided with emotional and social support.

MPSs and small hospitals should consider:

  • Reviewing policies, procedures or protocols about visiting arrangements
  • Ensuring that infrastructure and supports are available to provide flexible visiting arrangements
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of flexible visiting arrangements.

For patients, flexible visiting can reduce anxiety, confusion and agitation. It can make them feel safe and increase their satisfaction with the care provided. Flexible visiting arrangements can also increase satisfaction for family members and reduce their anxiety. It can promote communication and allow family members to learn about the patient’s condition, because they are involved in their care.

Although there are perceived concerns with unrestricted visiting hours – such as family members getting in the way when care is provided, potential for increased infections and family members overextending the hours they visit – these barriers are not supported by evidence.

Consider how patients and carers are advised about their right to identify a partner in care and inform them about how they can be involved. Document the patient’s preferences about the chosen support person and their level of involvement in the patient’s healthcare record.

Examples of evidence

Select only examples currently in use:

  • Policy documents about visiting rights of patients, including any clinically necessary or reasonable restrictions or limitations that the health service organisation may have
  • Consumer and carer information packages or resources that inform consumers of visiting policies or guidelines
  • Availability of different types of accommodation to meet patients’ needs (for example, visitor waiting rooms, family rooms, quiet rooms).