Should Hospitals Allow Visitors for COVID-19 Patients?

January 27, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some physicians think hospitals should consider whether their visitor policies are too restrictive and potentially adopt more nuanced policies that account for community transmission of the virus, careful use of personal protective equipment, and vaccine status, according to a new report.

Many hospitalized patients lacked support this year and struggled emotionally, particularly in intensive care units (ICUs), a group of physicians writes in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

"Families and designated care partners are essential members of patient-centered care in the ICU, and their role extends beyond comfort," lead author Laveena Munshi, MD, of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, told Reuters Health. "They are patient advocates, they help minimize the impact of delirium, they listen in on our daily ICU rounds and add their insight, and they are substitute decision makers during times when we cannot communicate with patients."

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