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Our fears have been confirmed about intensive care unit families in 2020

Annals of the American Thoracic Society May 1, 2023

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Research Areas

PAIR Center Research Team


The presence of family members in critical-care spaces continues to be the source of conflict among clinicians and between clinicians and family members. In the absence of definitive empirical data in the form of a multisite randomized control trial, decision-makers (e.g., clinicians and hospital administrators) often draft highly consequential policies about “visitation” based on perceived best- and worst-case scenarios. In early 2020, with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emerging as a global pandemic, clinicians and health system administrators made challenging decisions to broadly prohibit or severely limit family access to inpatient spaces. There is now a growing body of observational research that reveals the experiences of families under those policies.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute