Family Visitation in the PACU: A Qualitative Study

Friday, 11 July 2008: 8:30 AM
Pamela Windle, MS, RN, CNA, BC, CPAN, CAPA , Pacu/sou, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, TX

Learning Objective 1: Describe the process of how family visitation was implemented in a strict department.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss staff perceptions, common themes derived from the interviews from patients, families and staff.

Family Visitation in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit:

A Qualitative Study

Historically, most Post Anesthesia Care Units (PACUs) are restricted units where family visitation is not allowed due to its close proximity to operating rooms and its complexity and fast paced recovery environment. There are however no recent studies on Family Visitation in PACU for the adult postoperative patients.

This qualitative study used the phenomenological approach to explore the lived experiences of the family members (FMs) and the staff nurses (SNs) regarding family visitation in PACU. Methodology involved interviewing the FM of surgical patients before the implementation of the pilot while another group was interviewed after visiting in PACU. RN interviews were conducted after they had an opportunity to experience taking care of a patient with family visitation.

Ten categories emerged from the interview data: (1) Concerns during patient stay; (2) Effects of monitors set-up; (3) Handling of information/privacy; (4) Role of family members; (5) PACU routine ;(6) Distractions/nursing procedures (7) Anxiety ;(8) Nurses; (9) Time frame; and (10) Number of visitors. From these categories identified, five themes emerged: (1) Relief of anxiety; (2) Patient status in PACU; (3) Role of family members in visitation; (4) Nurses role, (5) Limits of visitation.

Family visitation in PACU showed positive impact of patient/family satisfaction with decrease anxiety from family members. This study showed excellent outcomes for perianesthesia nursing and continue to remind nurses as patient/family advocates.