Postnatal quietness - the dilemma of visiting hours: A qualitative interview study with maternity care staff

Mette G. Backhausen*, Lotte Broberg, Elizabeth E. Rosted, Kamma Z.L. Råsø, Thora G. Thomsen, Malene Beck

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: As part of the Person and Family Centred Care, involvement of relatives is a key concept. This means that an unrestricted visiting policy in hospitals wards is widely accepted and implemented. In maternity care, benefits and drawbacks of unrestricted visiting is still discussed, while it is acknowledged that a quiet environment is important for both new parents and newborns to enhance breastfeeding. The COVID-19 lockdown provided an opportunity to study how the restrictions for visitors influenced the work of maternity care staff in Denmark. Objective: This study aimed to explore the experience of maternity care staff on how visitation restrictions for visitors influenced the care of new families in a maternity ward. Methods: Individual interviews (n = 10) were performed between 20 November 2020 and 25 February 2021. A qualitative descriptive study was performed using thematic analysis. Results: One overarching theme was identified: “Framing time to the experience of becoming a parent”. Further, five sub-themes were identified and illuminated in the analysis: “Increasing confidentiality and presence”, “Changing availability and space for guidance”, “Welcoming peacefulness”, “Being gatekeepers”, and “Structuring time is caring”. Conclusion: Restrictions for visitors influenced the care of new families because it encourages the space and place of becoming a parent. The hospital environment was shaped in a calm way, which increased the staffs’ bedside time. The experience of an increased confidentiality with new parents led to in-depth conversations, making it easier to identify new parents’ needs, focus on the initiation of breastfeeding, and individual guidance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100860
JournalSexual and Reproductive Healthcare
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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  • Breastfeeding
  • Postnatal care
  • Qualitative study
  • Quietness
  • Visitors


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