Empowering Health Care Consumers


New York Public Interest Research Group and New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers


November 12, 2019


Isolating hospital patients from their loved ones at their most vulnerable time can place them at risk for medical error, emotional harm, inconsistencies in care, and a greater likelihood of readmission.

Having generous family presence guidelines, such as 24/7 open visitation, is one way to strengthen the important role of family and informal caregivers as partners in a patient’s health care experience. However, many hospitals throughout New York State still have restrictive visitation policies that bar family members from patients’ bedsides at important times of day. New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care piloted a training program to help hospitals re-examine and improve their practices on caregiver presence and visiting. NYPIRG and New Yorkers for Patient and Family Empowerment subsequently conducted a study of 40 New York State hospitals that participated in the training program to see if improvements have been made.

This report examines whether hospitals made changes to visiting practices to better support family caregivers’ presence and participation during a patient’s hospitalization. The report also offers recommendations for improving family presence and general visitation policies, including 24-hour presence programs, hospital website communications, and best practices for caregiver resources.