Background and aims Recent audit found common practice in the UK is to restrict visitors on PICU to 2 adults, including parents, to ensure staff’s safe patient access. This requires nurses to take responsibility for bed space visitors, however, this proves difficult in clinical practice for all concerned. This research explored whether empowering parents to take visitor responsibility impacted visitor numbers and therefore patient safety on PICU.
Methods The research took place on a 19 bedded tertiary PICU in the UK. Each day parents were issued two visitors badges, allocated at their discretion. Badges display day, bed number and badge number, and must be visible at all times. Twelve months post-implementation, a 3 month audit was undertaken to assess bed space adherence. Questionnaires were conducted to assess staff and parent knowledge and opinion towards the system.
Results 178 bed space observations were undertaken and 95 questionnaires completed (visitors=53; staff=42). In 26 observations visitors were without visible badges (15%) and in 2 instances over two visitors were at the bed space (1%). In one exceptional instance, end-of-life care was occurring. Questionnaire results showed 98% of staff and visitors were aware of the system, with 81% reporting it beneficial to the child and family, and 92% beneficial to the unit.
Conclusions Both staff and parents report the new system is empowering to parents, granting responsibility for their child’s welfare whilst still allowing staff to monitor effectually. This research has shown that through effective interaction with parents, systems can be implemented and successfully utilised, benefitting patient safety.