New York Public Interest Research Group Fund, Inc.
Empowering Health Care Consumers
July 2017- June 2019
Evidence shows that the presence of family members can have a significant positive impact on the quality and safety of care that patients receive in the hospital.
Isolating patients from their loved ones at their most vulnerable time can place them at risk for medical error (especially medication errors), emotional harm, inconsistencies in care, and lack of preparedness for transitions in care. Yet despite the evidence, families and caregivers are often still barred from the bedsides of loved ones at important times of day because of restrictive hospital visiting policies.
Having robust family presence guidelines, such as 24/7 open visitation, is one way to strengthen and leverage the important role of family and informal caregivers as partners in a patient’s health care experience. Data found that allowing 24/7 access for families across all departments in a hospital correlated with improved Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. The New York Public Interest Research Group Fund (NYPIRG) and Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC) piloted a 24/7 visitation program in New York City hospitals to improve hospital policies on caregiver presence and visiting. Based on promising early findings, NYSHealth awarded a grant NYPIRG, in collaboration with IPFCC, to enhance and replicate the pilot at hospitals throughout New York State.