(HealthDay News) — Opening visitation access across all facilities can improve patient and family experience, according to research published in the July/August issue of the Journal of Nursing Administration.

To support increased and consistent access to patients, Terri Nuss, MS, MBA, from the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas, and colleagues implemented a system-wide approach to open access for visitation across all facilities. The communication efforts were led by nursing and medical leadership, who shared nursing governance-guided revisions to existing policies.

Based on data from 13 hospitals, the researchers found that patients and families felt more informed after the implementation. The patients also felt that nursing staff members were more courteous and respectful and explained things in a more understandable way. In addition, the patients felt a marked improvement in the staff attitude toward visitors, and felt that the comfort and accommodations for guests had been extended and improved.

“Communication and delineation of accountabilities at all levels were essential; the assessment and scoring tools, albeit ‘measurement’ in its appearance, were fundamental methods for consistently defining success,” the authors write. “For staff members struggling to synthesize all of the required changes in an implementation project, knowing exactly when and where they have been successful and being commended assure them that they are doing the right work effectively.”

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