Visiting hours are over...now get out!

  1. I have a teensy problem. What does your hospital do to let visitors know that visiting hours are over for the day? Let me explain. At nine-thirty, some unknown person who is apparently suffering from 'little-people' syndrome has access to the overhead paging system. This person (always a woman, but not always the same one) then picks up the mic and says:

    "Thank you for visiting Blabbity-Blah hospital. We've enjoyed having you immensely, and we're sure you've enjoyed visiting with your friends and family today. However, visiting hours are over, and you must now leave the hospital so that the ill can rest. Thank you, have a good night, and God Bless every one of you."

    Umm. I don't know how to phrase this, and I don't want to offend anyone or anything, but I cringe everytime I hear this message. I think it is inappropriate, and not considerate for a number of reasons. First of all, depending on who is in charge of the message for the night, this can be shorter (not usually) or longer (believe it or not!). This is coming overhead, and is rather loud- at nine-thirty PM. When patients have settled in, and, hopefully, are trying to get some sleep. LOUD. The longer it is, the longer we have to listen to her LOUD message. Sometimes she just throws things in there, and we're all looking at each other like, 'What else could she possibly have to say?!?'. The second issue I have is that she 'blesses' 'every one' of them. Okay, I'm not going to get into a religious debate here, but I think perhaps that, though she means well, at the VERY LEAST this is not considerate to patients/staff/family who are not Christian. We are in an urban area, and though we do have our share of Catholics and Baptists, we also have a large Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, etc. population. I have seen an Arabic family grow uncomfortable in the nursery when this message was said overhead one night, and I actually felt it necessary to APOLOGIZE! The third thing, and this, honestly, is the biggest part that bugs me, is that she ALWAYS says something about 'We're SURE you've enjoyed your visit...' (and SHE puts the emphasis on 'sure' every single time, no matter which person it is). Umm, okay, are you SURE? Because people are sick and dying here. It's kind of condescending (you'd have to hear the inflection...think Mommy-patting-your-head condescending) and to me it's just completely inaccurate. Does *anyone* understand what I'm getting at? What does your facility do? Who do I write to about this? I don't know who is in charge of that, but before you say my unit manager, let me assure you that this will accomplish nothing. And please, I know this may not seem like anything, and it's not...it's a teensy little thing that just drives me mad. I can obsess about whatever I choose!
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   mageean
    I understand your frustration! In the Dementia units I manage we have unrestricted visiting and in many respects, family visitors are part of the team. Your experiences would drive me mad. Can you bring about any change in this "Corporate" message to either abolish it or make it more person friendly?
  4. by   NICU_Nurse
    Well, that's what I'm wondering! Any suggestions? I thought of writing a nicely worded letter, but to who? The CEO? I don't know who handles this stuff...
  5. by   RNforLongTime
    Visiting hours end at 8pm in my facility. In my unit visiting hours are over at 6:30pm. At 8pm a voice comes over the overhead paging system and says, "Attention visitors, visiting hours are now over. Please exit the hospital at this time using the front entrance. Thank you and have a good evening" Course there are those that ignore the rules.

    When I was a litle girl, I remember my brother being in the hospital for dehydration. I wasn't allowed off of the first floor to go see him. I talked to him on the special Mickey Mouse phone in the lobby which was situated right in front of a special TV and he could see me but I couldn't see him. Remember the signs that had the Nurse holding a finger up to her lips "quiet please". We need to get back to those days.

    I work in ICU and I get tired of having to stumble over people to get to my patient and do my job! And then they get mad at ME if I ask them to go to the waiting room so I can get report and assess my patient!!!!! Hello, critically ill patients need rest even moreso than regular hospital patients! Some people just don't get it. Plus, the beds are only separated by curtains in my ICU so confidentiality becomes a HUGE issue also. I try to clear the unit of visitors during report cause you never know who is gonna hear what. This part of Customer Service really irritates me!!!! GRRRRR...ok stepping off my soapbox now!
  6. by   RNinICU
    Kristy, we used to have a nice simple announcement like Lou's. It was Attention visitors, it is *8:00. and visiting hours are now over. Will all visitors please leave the hospital quietly. Now we have some corporate script very similar to yours. I think it's some kind of conspiracy to send us over the edge. I cringe every time I hear it.
  7. by   Lausana
    Kristy, I'm shuu-ore it's not that bad Good girl <pat pat>
  8. by   emily_mom
    We have an announcement, but it is at 2000. It's something very simple, non-offensive, and no one gets blessed...

    Our floor is lax on visiting hours though. With having so many Onc. and heart patients, we try to let the families have as much time with them as they can. We only say something if it is warranted, but I've yet to see any problems with family getting in the way.

    Kristy
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Visiting hours? In OB, visiting hours are over when the family decides to leave ---ugh. Our announcement (for other areas of the hospital) is very generic. "Your attention please, visiting hours are now over. Visiting hours resume at 8:30 in the morning" or something like that. Even in our Catholic hospital, no mention of blessing anyone is made.
  10. by   BadBird
    One time a new phone operator simply said "Visiting hours are over, please leave" we about fell on the floor laughing, and still tease her.
  11. by   plumrn
    You should communicate your concern to your PR person, patient advocate, or similar position. 'We're SURE you enjoyed your visit'...etc., assumes the patient is stable and on the mend. The poor person who is sitting at the bedside of a comatose loved one dying of cancer, or someone struggling for every breath, is not really enjoying their visit.
  12. by   suzannasue
    We have just the generic " it is 8:30 p.m., visiting hours are now over " announcement...do the visitors actually leave, nope...
    Worked one neuro unit eons ago where the charge nurse announced over the call system , " visitiing hours are now over, your co-operation is appreciated and expected "...loved it !!! We staff nurses were then sent out, room to room to reinforce the announcement. No children under the age of 12 were allowed to visit at the bedside and now I am blown away at the number of children allowed to visit...running in the halls, very little discipline from parents...and it seems that none of them have any idea of the pathogens within the hospital, and I, personally, would not want my children exposed to the bugs and crud. Recently a little boy used the staff's restroom... did not pull up lid, urinated all over the toilet and the floor... fellow nurse found him, his mother and "encouraged him to clean up his mess and encouraged his mother to keep a closer watch on her child "... makes me wonder if he does this sort of thing at home. I have no problem with anyone visiting if they are there to comfort the patient. But I do have problems with them if they allow their children to run rampant in the halls and expect us to keep up with them, feed them, etc...
    And whatever happened to the "2 visitors per patient" rule...sheesh...agree with you nurse-lou...I detest having to wade through a crowd to get to the patient then they get all huffy if you ask them to leave so you can examine/assess their loved one...have begun a personal "visitor etiquette education" upon every patients admission...explaining that I will be exposing patient's body in order to assess and that I will ask them to leave during the assessment but they will be allowed back into the room following the assessment...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...
    Also have concerns about confidentiality issues with visitors hanging around desk during report...wishing for a separate room designated for report but am not holding my breath...

    Kristi2377, I would suggest a carefully worded letter addressing your concerns to your nurse manager...then follow the chain of command...follow up with each person you address and if nothing else, report your concerns to corporate compliance. I understand your obsession with this matter...
  13. by   askater11
    You're visiting hours are until 9:30....if they're earlier do they say a message then?? 9:30 seems a little late. I encourage people to stay if the patient WANTS them too, the patients confused, dying and if the family member helps the situation. I limit it to one family member in the room at a time.

    I'm just switching jobs. At my old facility we'd have a message around 8:30 P.M. Not every visitor left when the page was made...but most did. I like the message b/c when I'm visiting a love one I'm not watching my watch and it reminds me...oh it's getting late I best let my loved one rest.

    I've had family members periodically say thank heavans for the message....I didn't have the heart to ask my family to leave....I'm exhausted.
  14. by   aimeee
    I agree, Kristy. A message more like Smiling Blue Eyes' is more appropriate. You should follow the chain of command though so nobody gets their nose out of joint about the complaint.

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