Impact of restricted family presence policies on families of children admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey

October 5, 2020

 

No parent wants to be separated from their baby. This is especially true for parents of premature or sick infants requiring hospitalization in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Yet, given the restrictions of COVID-19 global pandemic response, this is the reality for many mothers and almost every father of our smallest and extremely vulnerable patients. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Canadian provinces and hospitals implemented rules that severely restricted families from being present with their infant in the hospital. Some people would call this restricted visitation but since we do not think that families are visitors, we will call it restricted family presence. Changes to care standards meant some if not all Neonatal Intensive Care Units across the country shifted to not permitting both parents to remain with their infant for the duration of stay. Some partners are not permitted to return to the hospital following attendance at the birth. Mothers who must leave to care for other children or relatives at home, may have been unable to return to the NICU. This left many infants receiving care in NICUs across the country without a parent present due to COVID-19 restrictions. The parent that stayed in the NICU with their infant lacked access to their usual social support systems, partners had little engagement, and usual in-person support, education delivery, and discharge teaching has been disrupted. There is an urgent need during these unprecedented times to identify and meet the priorities for education, support, and discharge teaching of families to optimise family integrated care delivery by the neonatal care team during COVID-19.

 

Why are the researchers doing the study?

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, provinces and hospitals implemented rules that severely restricted families from being present with their infant in the hospital. We are interested in learning about how restricted family presence at the neonatal intensive care unit bedside during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you and your family.

 

Who Can Take Part in the Research Study?

You can take part in this study if you are parent or caregiver of a baby who was admitted to a Canadian Neonatal Intensive Care Unit since March 1, 2020.

 

What Will I Be Asked to Do?

If you agree to participate, you will be directed to an online survey that should take about 30 minutes to complete. Your responses will be kept confidential and if there are any questions you prefer not to answer, you don’t have to. You will be asked to share about your experiences in the NICU during a time when families were restricted from being with their very sick infants in the NICU in the way they normally would.

Once you complete the survey you will have the opportunity to enter your email for the chance to win one of five $50 CAN Amazon electronic gift cards.

If you are interested, please click on the link to participate: www.tinyurl.com/momlinc-nicu-covid

 

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