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Keywords

Maternity, Child and sibling visitation policies.

 

Authors

  1. Spear, Hila J. PhD, RN, IBCLC

Abstract

Purpose: To examine policies and practices related to sibling and child visitation within southeastern U.S. hospital-based maternity units.

 

Methods: This descriptive telephone survey includes data from 69 hospitals about their intrapartum and postpartum sibling and child visitation policies. Data were collected from nurse representatives from each of these institutions. Frequency distributions were used to analyze the data.

 

Results: Visitation during labor was restricted to siblings only in 62.3% of the hospitals; in this sample, only 28.9% allowed open visitation by children during labor and four hospitals prohibited all children from visiting during labor. Postpartum visitation was less restrictive: The majority (82.6%) of the hospitals had open child visitation policies; only four hospitals physically assessed or observed children for signs of illness prior to visiting on the postpartum unit. In most cases, even if restrictive child visitation policies were in place, they were not routinely enforced.

 

Clinical Implications: Nurses should examine current sibling and child visitation policies in their institutions to determine the need for revision, elimination, or creation of new policies. Moreover, continued research study on child and sibling visitation and related issues is warranted to generate updated evidence to support policies.