Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parental satisfaction in two European neonatal intensive care units

Carolina Zorro*, Eva MacRae, Marta Teresa-Palacio, Emma E. Williams, Victoria Aldecoa-Bilbao, Ravindra Bhat, Ann Hickey, Theodore Dassios, Anne Greenough

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background Neonatal units across the world have altered their policies to prevent the spread of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our aim was to report parental experience in two European neonatal units during the pandemic. Methods Parents of infants admitted to each neonatal unit were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. At King's College Hospital, UK (KCH), data were collected prospectively between June 2020 and August 2020 (first wave). At the Hospital Clínic Barcelona (HCM), data were collected retrospectively from parents whose infants were admitted between September 2020 and February 2021 (second and third wave). Results A total of 74 questionnaires were completed (38 from KCH and 36 from HCM). The parents reported that they were fully involved or involved in the care of their infants in 34 (89.4%) responses in KCH and 33 (91.6%) responses in HCM. Quality time spent with infants during the pandemic was more negatively affected at KCH compared with HCM (n=24 (63.2%) vs n=12 (33.3%)). Parents felt either satisfied or very satisfied with the updates from the clinical care team in 30 (79.0%) responses at KCH and 30 (83.4%) responses in HCM. The parents felt that the restrictions negatively affected breast feeding in six (15.8%) responses at KCH and two (5.6%) responses in HCM. Travelling to the hospital was reported overall to be sometimes difficult (39.2%); this did not differ between the two units (14 (36.8%) respondents at KCH and 15 (41.6%) from HCM). Furthermore, the self-reported amount of time spent giving kangaroo care also did not differ between the two countries. Conclusion Restrictive policies implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the perception of quality of time spent by parents with their newborns admitted to neonatal units.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001396
JournalBMJ Paediatrics Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2022


  • COVID-19
  • neonatology

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