In Spain, ICU have a visiting policy that we could categorize in three groups: open access 24-hour (3.8%), open daytime (9.8%) and 2 visits per day, 30 to 60 minutes (67.7%).

In the II National Conference on Humanizing Intensive Care (#2JHUCI), we could listen to Silvio and Magda, who spoke of the experience of their son admitted in the ICU. Magda told us that time that she returned to the Box after having to leave her son alone (an adult male), and he told: “Please mom, don´t leave me alone again”

Beyond trying to fall into sentimentality (which on the other hand I don´t see any problem), I think you should stop a moment, and ask yourself one question: Have you ever been admitted in an ICU?.

To be alone, sick and conscious inside an ICU box, is scary. Since Prehistoric ancient times, when human being has been afraid, has integrated into clans, searched for associations…We have taken refuge in the family.

We have searched the protection of the group to fight againts fear, mainly of the family… Over all, the protection of the mother, who is one of the most basic laws of survival of nature. Even animals do it.

“Open ICU doors” term can lead to confusion. Let´s explain it :

“Open ICU doors” is to increase and improve the company and patient communication with their loved ones. It is a commitment to improve the quality, compression, sensitivity and humanity for our patients.

“Open ICU doors” is not a market. “Open door” is not a 24 hours-shop, 365 days a year, 100% of ICU, in all the circumstances (sometimes it is). And there is a very good phrase to understand this: “There is nothing more unjust to treat equal what is different”.

“Open ICU door” is about increasing the visiting policy for every patient and family. With responsibility and wisdom. We should manage it according to the patient, the illness and the desires (there are patients who do not want visits), according to the families, according to the unit (with or without corridor perimeter, with boxes individualized or not). But always trying the conciliation between the health care providers, and let our patients to be accompanied by their families, the maximum time possible. 

In the ICU of San Juan de Dios de Córdoba we are committed to a model where every patient and his/her enviroment forms a whole that our team studies individually from the admittance and daily dynamically. And surely many of you also can do it.

We have the premise of expand and make more flexible the visits in all our patients… Is there something more human to treat each case individually?.

At the ICU entrance we have placed this poster, because we believe that giving explanations to people about why things are as they are, is also humanize.

From the IC-HU project, we want to promote a friendly and warm ICU that could somehow alleviate the pain and suffering of patients and families.

And clarify the concept: “Open ICU doors”.

Dr. José Carlos Igeño Cano
Head of Emergency and ICU.