Eliminating Visiting Hour Restrictions Increases Patient Satisfaction

Eliminating restrictions on when friends and family can visit lowers patients' anxiety levels and feelings of social isolation, according to research in the Journal of Healthcare Quality.

Researchers implemented a 24-hour visitation policy at Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center during 2012. Between March and October of that year, 14,444 visitors visited the hospital between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., but complaints from patients and visitor did not increase.

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The expanded policy correlated with an uptick in patient satisfaction scores. Both family members and patients expressed appreciation over the flexibility of visiting hours in reducing daily schedule disruptions.

In addition to increasing patient satisfaction the 24-hour visitor policy may improve clinical outcomes, though the relationship remains somewhat speculative, according to a news release.

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