The effect of video visitation on intensive care unit patients and family members outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic: A randomised controlled trial

Cui Yuan, Yanyan Xiao, Fang Wang, Yi Wang, Yaqing Wang, Frances Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the effect of video visitation on intensive care patients’ and family members’ outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Design: This is a randomised controlled trial. 

Setting: An adult intensive care unit in a tertiary hospital in Beijing, China. 

Methods: A total of 121 adults, who were >18 years of age, conscious, able to communicate verbally, and admitted to the intensive care unit for over 24 hours were randomised into the intervention (video visitation) (n = 65) and control (n = 56) Groups. A total of 98 family members participated. Patient primary outcomes included anxiety and depression, measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Secondary outcomes included patient delirium and family anxiety assessed using the Confusion Assessment Method scale and Self-Rating Anxiety Scale, respectively; and patient and family satisfaction, measured using a questionnaire routinely used in the hospital. 

Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in patients’ anxiety (t = 1.328, p = 0.187) and depression scores (t = 1.569, p = 0.119); and no statistically significant differences in delirium incidence between the groups (7.7 % vs 7.1 %, p > 0.05). There were no significant differences in changes in family members’ anxiety scores (t = 0.496, p = 0.621). A statistically significant difference in satisfaction was found between the two group patients (86.1 % vs 57.2 % of patients were satisfied with using video visitation, p < 0.05), and the result of family members’ satisfaction was also statistically significant (88 % vs 62.5 % of family members were satisfied with using video visitation, p < 0.05). 

Conclusion: Video visitation did not seem to influence anxiety, but the use of video visitation can improve the patient and their family members’ satisfaction. Future research is needed to determine the feasibility of embedding video visitation into routine practice, and the optimal frequency and length of video visitation in relation to patients’ and family members’ outcomes. 

Implications for clinical practice: Video visitation improved patient and family members' satisfaction. Therefore, clinicians should consider using video visitation when face to face visit is restricted. Video visVitation did not reduce patient anxiety significantly in this study maybe because the average length of intensive care stay was too short. Future research is needed on its effect on long term intensive care patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103394
Number of pages8
JournalIntensive and Critical Care Nursing
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Intensive care unit
  • Satisfaction
  • Video visitation


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