Parents’ and healthcare providers perspectives about hospitalised children being visited by other children in Nairobi, Kenya
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Background: Throughout history, visitation of the hospitalised child has always been restricted. The subject of whether hospitalised children should be visited by other children has been accorded minimal attention. Objective: To determine the current status of visitation of the hospitalised children and the parents and healthcare providers’ views on hospitalised children being visited by other children. Design: A descriptive study carried out using quantitative and qualitative methods in two phases Setting: All paediatric wards at Kenyatta National Hospital and Gertrudes Children’s Hospital. Subjects: Nurses, paediatricians and parents of hospitalised children. Results: A total of 161 parents participated in phase I of the study whereas 11 nurses not specialised in paediatric nursing, 13 paediatric nurses, 12 nurse managers, fur paediatricians and 13 parents participated in phase II of the study. The study established that visiting of the hospitalised child by family members especially children aged below twelve years is severely restricted particularly in the public hospital. Despite this, however, majority of the healthcare providers and the parents acknowledged the importance of the hospitalised children being visited by other children. This is because it promotes healing, gives the sick child psychological satisfaction and relieves anxiety in the hospitalised child, the accompanying parent and the other children. The risk of exposing the visiting children to infection was cited as the main reason for the restrictions. Conclusion: Both the healthcare providers and the hospitalised children’s parents appreciate the importance of the hospitalised child being visited by other children. There is a need to review healthcare policies to make provision for hospitalised children to be visited by other children.