Evidence shows that the unrestricted presence and participation of a support person can improve the safety of care and enhance patient and family satisfaction. This is especially true in the intensive care unit (ICU), where the patients are usually intubated and cannot speak for themselves.

Ensure that your health care facility has policies and procedures that support unrestricted visitation in the ICU, including a policy that limits visitors whose presence infringes on the rights and safety of others or is medically or therapeautically contraindicated.

Facilitate unrestricted access of patients to a chosen support person (eg, family member, friend, or trusted individual) who can provide emotional and social support 24 hours a day.

Evaluate policies to ensure that they prohibit discrimination based on age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity or expression.

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