Podcast: The case for relaxing no-visitor policies in hospitals during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Published: December 18, 2020

Source: CMAJ

Guests: Laveena Munshi, Gerald Evans and Fahad Razak


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KEY POINTS

  • Restrictive “no-visitor” policies were adopted in Canada during the first wave of the pandemic in an attempt to mitigate introduction and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within hospitals, and to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers.

  • Available literature does not support a substantial role for family members and designated support persons in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals.

  • Extensive evidence has shown that family members or designated support persons are important in the delivery of patient-centred care, particularly for patient advocacy, feeding, mobility, orientation, emotional support in settings of delirium, cognitive impairment, language barriers, end-of-life care, labour and delivery, and transitions to critical care.

  • We argue that in the current wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, hospitals should adopt more accommodating visitor policies with careful use of PPE and monitoring, paying careful attention to community prevalence of COVID-19 and, in the future, immunization status.

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