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‘They could not see our eyes, they cannot see our faces, they do not know who we are and that is hard’: a qualitative interview study with staff caring for children and families in a UK specialist children’s hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic

Aldiss, Susie; Gibson, Faith; Vindrola-Padros, Cecilia; Wray, Jo; Kelly, Paula; (2023) ‘They could not see our eyes, they cannot see our faces, they do not know who we are and that is hard’: a qualitative interview study with staff caring for children and families in a UK specialist children’s hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ Open , 13 (6) , Article e070048. 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070048. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: Despite lower rates of illness, morbidity and mortality associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in children during the COVID-19 pandemic, their health and well-being has been significantly impacted. Emerging evidence indicates that this includes experiences of hospital-based care for them and their families. As part of a series of multisite research studies to undertake a rapid appraisal of perceptions of hospital staff, working during the pandemic, our study focused on clinical and non-clinical staff perceptions of the impact of COVID-19 on aspects of care delivery, preparedness and staffing specific to a specialist children's hospital. DESIGN: Qualitative study using a qualitative rapid appraisal design. Hospital staff participated in a telephone interview. We used a semistructured interview guide, and recorded and transcribed all interviews. Rapid Research Evaluation and Appraisal Lab Rapid Assessment Procedure sheets were used to share data; team-based analysis was facilitated using a framework approach. SETTING: Specialist children's hospital in London, UK. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-six staff representing a range of roles within the hospital: 19 (53%) nurses, 7 (19%) medical staff and 10 (28%) other staff groups (including radiographers, managers, play staff, schoolteachers, domestic and portering staff and social workers). RESULTS: Three overarching themes relating to staff perceptions of the impact on children and families were identified, each containing subthemes: (1) same hospital but different for everyone, (2) families paid the price and (3) the digital world. They illustrated that providing care and treatment for children and families changed profoundly during the pandemic, particularly during lockdown periods. Adaptations to deliver clinical care, play, schooling and other therapies online were rapidly put into action; however, benefits were not universal or always inclusive. CONCLUSIONS: The disruption to a central principle of children's hospital care-the presence and involvement of families-was of critical concern to staff, suggesting a need for the specific impact of COVID-19 on children's services to be accounted for.

Type: Article
Title: ‘They could not see our eyes, they cannot see our faces, they do not know who we are and that is hard’: a qualitative interview study with staff caring for children and families in a UK specialist children’s hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070048
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-070048
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Keywords: COVID-19, paediatrics, qualitative research, Humans, Child, COVID-19, Communicable Disease Control, Pandemics, SARS-CoV-2, Hospitals, Pediatric, London, Qualitative Research
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10172292
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