Vol 16, No 4 (2022)
Research paper
Published online: 2022-09-02

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Website information on visiting policies at specialist in-patient palliative care settings during COVID-19 pandemic across Central and Eastern Europe: a quantitative and qualitative study

Filip Lebiedziński1, Leszek Pawłowski2, Joanna Jastrzębska1, Alicja Świątek3, Monika Lichodziejewska-Niemierko2
Palliat Med Pract 2022;16(4):227-232.


Introduction: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, visiting policies in various healthcare centres across theworld have changed. Visiting patients by relatives and friends have been stopped or significantly limited.New conditions and legal constraints for family visits had to be implemented also at in-patient palliativecare settings, even though accompanying a dying person is crucial for the quality of the end of life.The study aimed to identify and review the visiting policies at in-patient specialist palliative care settingsacross Central and Eastern Europe.

Patients and methods: The study was conducted one year after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak fromMay to October 2021. Information about visiting policies, published on official websites of the in-patientspecialised palliative care settings (stationary hospices and hospital-based palliative care units) from Centraland Eastern European countries, were identified and categorised. The websites which lacked informationabout visiting policy during the COVID-19 pandemic were excluded. Qualitative and quantitative analysisof the obtained data was conducted by using content analysis techniques and descriptive analysis.The content from websites was translated into Polish with the usage of the Google Translate machine tool.

Results: Data from 55 in-patient palliative care settings from 8 countries were collected and analysed(83.6% from Poland, and the other from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakiaand Ukraine). In 43.6% of the organisations, visits were stopped and 56.4% of settings published informationabout the special requirements for visiting arrangements. In 32.7% of all examined units upfrontapproval from a physician or the head of a department for visiting a patient was required, and 29.1%published information about personal protective equipment. 32.7% of organizations recommendedtelephone contact with the patient, and 12.7% provided video calls.

Conclusions: Web information regarding visiting patients in in-patient palliative care settings is limited.There is a need to establish detailed requirements for the visits with better access to the website for thevisitors, in case of a global disease outbreak.

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