The standard practice in Australia is to restrict family visitation for adult patients in the first-stage Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU). While research on this topic in the Australian context is lacking, there is international evidence, particularly from the United States of America (USA), that demonstrates benefits to both patients and family members. These benefits include high satisfaction rates, reduced anxiety and an improvement in patient haemodynamic markers, pain and nausea. The facilitation of family visitation in the PACU may also enhance the delivery of not only personcentred care but also patient- and family-centred care. Despite this, the literature documents that nursing concerns regarding family visitation are common. These may include concerns about impacts on workload, patient privacy, infection control risks, physical space limitations and undesirable family responses. While these issues may indicate barriers to implementation, the literature also demonstrates that organisational guidelines and adequate resourcing may enable the successful implementation of family visitation in the first-stage PACU. This discussion paper explores the benefits of and possible risks associated with family visitation in the first-stage PACU, and hopes to inspire readers to consider implementing family visitation in the PACU as a quality improvement or research project.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.