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Family Satisfaction in Critical Care Units: Does an Open Visiting Hours Policy Have an Impact?

Baharoon, Salim MD*; Al Yafi, Walid MD; Al Qurashi, Ahmad MD*; Al Jahdali, Hamdan MD*; Tamim, Hani PhD; Alsafi, Eiman MD§; Al Sayyari, Abdullah A. MD*

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000140
Original Articles

For critically ill patients, the interaction between health care providers and family members is essential in daily decision making. Improving this relationship has a positive impact on satisfaction with the overall care provided to patients and reduces family member symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. In this study, we analyzed the impact of visitation policy (open versus restricted) on family satisfaction using the previously well-validated Critical Care Family Satisfaction Survey (CCFSS) questionnaire.

Methods This is a cross-sectional prospective observational study conducted between November 1, 2009, and January 31, 2010, in 2 critical care units with 2 different visiting policy systems, unit A (open visiting hours) and B (restricted visiting hours), comparing family satisfaction in both units using the CCFSS questionnaire. Responses were grouped in 5 satisfaction constructs, namely, the support construct, which assesses the degree of satisfaction with the support of the intensive care staff as perceived by relatives; the assurance construct, which assesses the degree of satisfaction regarding honest answers being given and the responder's confidence that the patient is receiving the best care possible; the proximity construct, which assesses the degree of satisfaction with the physical and emotional access to the patient; the information construct, which assesses the degree of satisfaction with the adequacy of information given to relatives; and the comfort construct, which assesses satisfaction with physical comfort and amenities.

Results During the study period, 115 questionnaires were distributed in each of the 2 sites. The response rates in units A and B were 92% (106) and 100% (115), respectively. The mean stay time in the intensive care unit was 3.7 days. There were more trauma cases in unit A and more cardiac patients in unit B. There was no significant difference between the 2 units in any of the 5 satisfaction constructs, the support, assurance, proximity, information, and comfort constructs, although there was a nonsignificant trend favoring the unit with the more liberal visit policy regarding amenities (unit A).

Conclusions We concluded that family satisfaction to care provided in intensive care as measured by the CCFSS questionnaire was not influenced by frequency of visitation among Saudi families. Factors other than open visiting hours may be important to evaluate.

From the *College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; †College of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; ‡Clinical Research Institute, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon; and §Department of Quality Management, King Saud Chest Specialty Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Correspondence: Salim Baharoon, MD, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of National Guard Health Affairs, Al Shaikh Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, PO Box 22490, Riyadh 11426 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (e-mail:;

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

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