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Hospitals weigh pros, cons of altering visiting hours

The Observer-Dispatch, September 4, 2012

New Yorkers for Patient & Family Empowerment and the New York Public Interest Research Group released a report last month on visiting hours. Among the report's recommendations: flexible visiting hours, possibly including an overnight stay by one visitor; overnight stays for the parents of pediatric patients; early hours, so families can talk to doctors doing morning rounds; evening hours for day-time workers; a change from "family only" restrictions on visiting to only "priority support persons" chosen by the patient; and a re-evaluation of rules that restrict teenage visitors. Local hospitals have moved toward policies that meet or almost meet those recommendations. St. Elizabeth Medical Center switched to an opening visiting policy without set visiting hours a few years ago after the hospital formed a patient and family advisory committee.