Skip to main content

Children visiting the ICU

Introduction

Most hospitals only allow children above 12 years old to visit adult ICU patients. However, younger children participating in the hospitalization process manifest, through their family members, their willingness to visit their hospitalized relatives. This raises different healthcare team members' opinions on how to manage their visits to the ICU and prevent psychological harm. This study suggests some relevant steps to allow and receive a child in an adult ICU.

Methods

A literature review on children visiting the ICU was performed to construct the steps. The flowchart was based on Torres' studies of the child in the face of death, based on Piaget's cognitive development. The flowchart: Identify the family request, either to the psychologist or to the team, to allow the child's visit/Understand the family context and information provided to the child/Healthcare team discussion - team consensus and ICU routine adjustment/Psychologist interview and accompaniment to the bed/After-visit evaluation and follow-up during the ICU stay from family information.

Results

The literature search has shown diversified results. The use of the flowchart, adjusted to each case requirement, has been very useful in our institution's practice. We could perceive that the healthcare team feels more serene and confident with this guidance and that the families feel more relieved and assured by sharing their afflictions related to their children.

Conclusions

The interdisciplinary work is fundamental to using the flowchart, requiring a healthcare team aligned with its aims and, above all, sensitive to the essence of the bioethical principle of autonomy, ruled by the patient's and family member's will. However, due to this subject relevance and sensitivity, new discussions are required to deepen the studies and therefore systematize children's visits to ICUs.

References

  1. 1.

    Barker C, Nieswiadomy RM, Arnold WK: Nursing interventions for children with a parent in the intensive care. Heart Lung 1998, 17: 441-446.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Johnstone M: Children visiting members of their family receiving treatment in ICUs: a literature review. Intensive Crit Care Nurs 1994, 10: 289-292. 10.1016/0964-3397(94)90038-8

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Torres WC: Children Facing Death: Challenges. São Paulo, Brazil: Casa do Psicólogo; 1999.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to KK Borges.

Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Borges, K., Genaro, L. & Monteiro, M. Children visiting the ICU. Crit Care 15, P525 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/cc9945

Download citation

Keywords

  • Family Context
  • Healthcare Team
  • Diversify Result
  • Interdisciplinary Work
  • Psychological Harm