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Darcy Mahoney A, White RD, Velasquez A, Barrett TS, Clark RH, Ahmad KA. Impact of restrictions on parental presence in neonatal intensive care units related to coronavirus disease 2019. J Perinatol. 2020;40(Suppl 1):36-46. doi:10.1038/s41372-020-0753-7

Objectives: To determine the relationship between the emergence of COVID-19 and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) family presence as well as how NICU design affects these changes.

Study design: A cross-sectional survey from April 21 to 30, 2020. We queried sites regarding NICU demographics, NICU restrictions on parental presence, and changes in ancillary staff availability.

Results: Globally, 277 facilities responded to the survey. NICU policies preserving 24/7 parental presence decreased (83-53%, p < 0.001) and of preserving full parental participation in rounds fell (71-32%, p < 0.001). Single-family room design NICUs best preserved 24/7 parental presence after the emergence of COVID-19 (single-family room 65%, hybrid-design 57%, open bay design 45%, p = 0.018). In all, 120 (43%) NICUs reported reductions in therapy services, lactation medicine, and/or social work support.

Conclusions: Hospital restrictions have significantly limited parental presence for NICU admitted infants, although single-family room design may attenuate this effect.

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