Evaluating Pediatric Families’ Understanding of and Reactions to COVID-19 Visitor Restrictions

Alexis V. Hyczko, Chenqi Fu, Zeva Graf, Caroline D. Perkowski, Mekela M. Whyte-Nesfield, Shouhao Zhou, Adrian D. Zurca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in hospital visitor policies and little is known about the impact on patients and their families. This study evaluated families’ understanding of and reactions to COVID-19-related visitor restriction policy at an academic children's hospital. We conducted a cross-sectional study with families of patients admitted to the pediatric ICU and general pediatric wards from September 2020 to November 2020. Parents (n = 73) completed a survey assessing communication, understanding of and satisfaction with visitor policies, strategies of coping with illness, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores. Descriptive analyses were performed to summarize data. Associations between outcomes and participant characteristics were examined. A majority (88%) of respondents reported hospital visitor restrictions were explained, usually in-person (94%), and understood the policy “very well” (68%), but none correctly identified all reasons for visitation restrictions. Eighty-five percent reported other family/friends would have visited, however minority families were more likely to report they would have had fewer visitors if restrictions were not in place (P = 0.0385). A majority (69%) were satisfied with how the hospital handled visitor polices, and parents of older children were more satisfied (P <.0001). HADS scores were consistent with anxiety or depression in about half of respondents. Forty percent of respondents believed restrictions affected their own and their child's ability to cope during hospitalization. Parents expressed satisfaction with and understanding of visitor policies but did not understand the rationale for visitor restrictions. Visitor restrictions may impact parental and child coping and mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Patient Experience
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

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