Our mates and friends of Centro Hospitalar Unimed de Joinville in Santa Catarina (Brasil), leaded by Dr. Glauco Westphal  have just published in Intensive Care Medicine the letter Effect of a 24-h extended visiting policy on delirium in critically ill patients.

Absence of relatives has been suggested as a potentially modiable risk factor for delirium and anxiety in the ICU. In this study, theyaimed to evaluate the impact of a 24-h extended visiting policy on the incidence of delirium in the ICU

A before-after study was conducted with two visitation policies. In phase I (March 2015–February 2016), relatives could opt for staying with patients for up to 6 h instead of the standard regimen (four half-hour visits). In phase II (March 2016–February 2017), relatives chose between an extended visitation regimen that allowed the presence of relatives at any time for up to 24h/day or the standard regimen.

The next figure shows how the adherence to the 24-h visit policy in phase II was higher while the incidence of delirium reduced from 12.1% to 6.7%, without and increase of Healthcare-associated infection or differents hospital length of stay.

In this non randomiced study, 24-h extended visiting policy reduces ICU delirium.

When will we get the ICU to be spaces with more flexible visits, where the family could be our partners in care? In the meantime, let’s keep generating scientific evidence.

Congratulations to the authors!!