UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evolution of family visitation in the post-anesthetic recovery room Bonifacio, Nerrisa Cruz


The Post-Anesthetic Recovery Room, commonly known as the recovery room is a specialized and designated unit where a patient recovers from a surgical procedure and the effects of anesthesia. Historically, the recovery room has been a closed and restricted unit to the family members of surgical patients. Over the past 20 years, a growing body of nursing research has emerged supporting the inclusion of family visitation in the immediate post-operative period. Still, the issue of family visitation in the adult recovery room remains an unresolved and controversial issue among nurses and other health care professionals. To further explore this issue, a study on the history of family visitation in the recovery room was conducted. The primary sources consisted of an extensive literature review of published books and journal articles on recovery room care from the 1940s to the 1960s and oral history interviews. Nine recovery room nurses who practiced in the 1960s- 1980s were interviewed. The fmdings revealed that the issues of space, privacy and safety were grounds for restricting family visitation during this time period. However, the findings also revealed that the reasons why family visitation was restricted back in the 1950s no longer holds the same merit in present-day recovery rooms. The face of the immediate post-operative patient has changed in the last 50 years, and as a result, a re-evaluation of this dated policy and practice is needed.

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