Pandemic 2020 - Parental debut in isolation

Parents' experiences with infection control measures from the Department of Neonatal Intensive Care

Background: Due to the corona pandemic, the Department of Neonatal Intensive Care at Oslo University Hospital (OUS) implemented strict infection control measures in March 2020. A visit ban for fathers/partners was implemented for a period of 10 weeks before they were gradually relieved. In June, the restrictions were modified so that both parents could come daily. Such restrictions have not been implemented at a Norwegian neonatal ward for several decades.

Having a child admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit is considered stressful by affecting the parents' psyche and changing the experience of the parental role. The division of roles within the family may be changed when the mother has the sole responsibility for the newborn child over a period when the child develops basic attachment behavior. Under "normal" conditions, parents use different coping strategies that could not be utilized to the same extent under the visitation restrictions.

This project is initiated and anchored by the user-organizations: The Norwegian Association for Preterm Babies and the The Norwegian Association for Children with Congenital Heart Disease, which demand knowledge about the consequences of this intervention measure.

On this basis, a research project is carried out that aims to explore parents' experiences in the time with the infection control measures.

The purpose of this project is to obtain knowledge about the consequences and parental experiences of more or less closing the unit, from families who have stayed in the Department of Neonatal Intensive Care for more than two weeks during this period. These experiences will be important in the implementation of measures in similar situations. The knowledge is crucial for the user organizations in planning and implementing measures and offers to their users.

The method used is qualitative - interviews with mother and/or father (or other caregiver) either individually, together or in focus group interviews.

Inquiries are sent to parents who have stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit OUS >14 days during the descent and where the child is still alive.

Collected data will be analysed thematically.

Results will be submitted to the user organizations and OUS and published in a peer reviewed journal during 2021.

Project leader:

Nina M. Kynø

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