Now. This is not going to be a popular opinion. But... I think that the above-mentioned hospital is correct in extending the visiting hours. Visitors do have their own lives to lead, their own needs that need to be met. So why do they have to organize their lives around those visiting hours? With those new hours, the visitors can come in dribs and drabs as opposed to coming in like a slow mowing gnu herd which makes everyone miserable. A patient with a large family can have one or two people visiting them throughout the day as opposed to having a whole tribe sat around the bed space, potentially annoying the rest of the patients and their visitors in that bay. Not to mention the issues with parking, which does seem to peak at visiting hours.
A lot of hospitals started giving relatives and friends of patients with relatives access to the ward outside normal visiting hours, after a campaign called 'John's Campaign' which has been extremely helpful to both patients and the professionals that take care of them. The thing is that more liberal visiting hours is better for patient care. You get fewer complaints, the patients get better quicker and they tend to be more settled during their stay. Patients satisfaction of their care improves. Which is always excellent. If visitors come in more infrequently this also gives nurses time to educate both the patient and their visitors, especially in terms of self-management and health promotion, which ideally should be part of all good care. Or it gives you enough time to figure out what happened, why it happened and how (hopefully) it can be prevented from happening again. Because collateral history can make such a big difference in patients care.
It is by no means perfect, but to be honest it doesn't have to be. We are there to try and make sure that the patient gets better. And opening the visiting hours does exactly that.