Promoting the Role of Family Caregivers and Open Visitation in New York Hospitals
Empowering Health Care Consumers
June 28, 2017
Isolating hospital patients from their loved ones at their most vulnerable time can place them at risk for medical error, emotional harm, inconsistencies in care, and a greater likelihood of readmission.
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. However, many hospitals throughout the State still bar family members from the bedsides of loved ones at important times of day because of restrictive hospital visitation policies. In 2015, 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 in 2017 to NYPIRG, in partnership with IPFCC, to enhance and replicate this 24/7 visitation program in upstate New York hospitals.
Under this grant, NYPIRG and IPFCC will establish a learning community of upstate New York hospitals focused on changing visiting policies and practices to better support family caregivers’ presence and participation during a patient’s hospitalization. Both organizations will also provide individualized coaching and technical assistance to facilitate implementation of the program at each participating hospital. Finally, NYPIRG and IPFCC will evaluate the upstate initiative and update an earlier report about the pilot to document the work done through this project and results achieved. The updated report will increase public awareness of the importance of family presence and the need for more hospitals to enhance and implement family presence policies.