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Dr. Renee Boss, a medical ethicist in Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics who was not involved in the guidelines, said she doubts there will be a lot of resistance to the idea of better accommodating families.

In neonatal ICUs, for example, no one would consider banning parents from participating in their child’s care, but that was standard practice years ago, said Boss, who’s also an associate professor of pediatrics at the Hopkins School of Medicine.

But she agreed that change is not always easy. Bigger changes such as allowing family to be present during rounds likely won’t come until there is more evidence that they help.

Conducting research is difficult because it requires participation by families in the ICU at a time when they are stressed and distracted, Boss said. Further, the mission of an ICU is medical, and saving lives has to remain the clear priority.

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Baltimore Sun

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