One nurse’s vision that, in addition to quality care, patients need the support and reassurance that only family members can bring them resulted in implementation of an open family visitation policy in the intensive care unit (ICU) at St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, St. Louis, Mo.

Recognized as a leader, mentor and compassionate nurse who provides excellent end-of-life care, BJ Hipsky, RN, BSN, headed the campaign to enact an open family visitation policy in the ICU. As a true patient advocate, Hipsky considered the restrictions placed on family members whose loved ones were patients in the ICU as a detriment to both the patients and their families. She cited several reasons for opening the visiting hours:

When the yearlong process to implement open visiting hours began, unit staff was split on the issue. As a nurse manager, Hipsky knew she needed the full support of her staff to ensure the...

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