From Open to Closed: COVID-19 Restrictions on Previously Unrestricted Visitation Policies in Adult Intensive Care Units

Author(s): Suzanne Marmo, PhD, LCSW, and Kerry A. Milner, DNSc, RN, FNP-BC, EBP-CH

Contact Hours 1.00

CERP C 1.00

Expires Jan 01, 2026

Topics: Family-Centered Care

Member: Free
NonMember: $10.00

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Activity Summary

Required reading for all learners: Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes

No visitor policies were the norm in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic even in ICUs that had pre-pandemic open visitation. Despite evidence of the physiologic and psychologic benefits, and low virus transmission rates between patients, visitors, and healthcare staff, many healthcare systems continued with no visitor or restrictive policies. This study describes ICU visitation policies during the pandemic in a national sample of Magnet and Pathway to Excellence hospitals that previously allowed open/unrestricted visitation. Study results highlight the need for patients, families, and nursing and health care staff to work together to create pandemic-proof visitation policies. A shared decision-making model using existing tools can help with creating a transparent process.


  • Define open visitation and the physiologic and psychologic benefits to patients and families.
  • Describe visitation practices in the ICU during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Identify decision-making tools to aid in establishing transparent visitation processes.

Continuing Education Disclosure Statement

Successful Completion

Learners must attend/view/read the entire activity, read Implicit Bias impacts patient outcomes, and complete the associated evaluation to be awarded the contact hours or CERP. No partial credit will be awarded.


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