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Visiting Preferences of Cardiovascular Patients


Address for correspondence:
Diane L. Carroll, PhD, ACNS, BC, FAAN, Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, PO Box 426, Boston, MA 02114


The purpose of this study is to compare differences in patient preferences for visitors during hospitalization for a cardiovascular event specifically comparing cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) patients to those on cardiac step down units (SDU). A convenience sample 63 subjects from the CICU, mean age of 61.2 ± 14.4 years, 21 males and 41 females, were compared with 61 subjects, mean age of 67.9 ± 14.4 years, 15 females and 46 males, on the “Patient's Perception of Visits in the Hospital” questionnaire. The CICU patient perceived higher value for visiting specifically because visitors assisted with interpretation of information (P<.02), were calming (P<.05), providing information about them to staff (P<.01), helped with care (P<.000), and reinforced treatments (P<.004). There were no differences in total stressor score between CICU and SDU patients, though the CICU patient worried more about their visitors traveling (P<.025). The SDU patient perceived that visitors were disruptive to rest (P<.001) and that visitors intensified their pain (P<.008). The majority of patients preferred unlimited visiting hours, with 3 visitors at a time, and some limits on children. Text data identified unlimited visiting for close family members, the benefit of support from visitors, and the stress of lengthy visits. These data provide voice to cardiovascular patient's perception of visitors.