Conditions and strategies to meet the challenges imposed by the COVID-19-related visiting restrictions in the ICU: a Scandinavian cross-sectional study
AuthorJensen, Hanne Irene; Ågård, Anne Sophie; Åkerman, Eva; Lind, Ranveig; Alfheim, Hanne Birgit; Fridh, Isabell
Research methodology/design - A cross-sectional survey.
Setting - Adult intensive care units in Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Main outcome measures - Likert scale responses and free-text comments within six areas: capacity and staffing, visiting policies and access to the unit, information and conferences with relatives, written information, children as relatives and follow-up initiatives.
Results - The overall response rate was 53% (74/140 participating units). All intensive care units had planned for capacity extensions; the majority ranging between 11 and 30 extra beds. From March–June 2020, units had a mean maximum of 9.4 COVID-19 patients simultaneously. Allowing restricted visiting was more common in Denmark (52%) and Norway (61%) than in Sweden where visiting was mostly denied except for dying patients (68%), due to a particular increased number of COVID-19 patients. The restrictions forced nurses to compromise on their usual standards of family care. Numerous models for maintaining contact between relatives and patients were described.
Conclusion - Visitation restrictions compromised the quality of family care and entailed dilemmas for healthcare professionals but also spurred initiatives to developing new ways of providing family care.