OBJECTIVE: To describe challenges in inpatient pediatric quality and safety during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. METHODS: In a previous qualitative study, our team sought to broadly describe changes in pediatric inpatient care during the pandemic. For both that study and this ancillary analysis, we purposefully sampled participants from community and children’s hospitals in the 6 US states with the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rates from March to May 2020. We recruited 2 to 3 participants from each hospital (administrators, front-line physicians, nurses, caregivers) for semistructured interviews. We used constant comparative methods to identify themes regarding quality and safety challenges during the pandemic. RESULTS: We interviewed 30 participants from 12 hospitals. Participants described several impacts to clinical workflows, including decreased direct clinician-patient interactions and challenges to communication, partly addressed through innovative use of telehealth technology. Participants reported changes in the discharge and transfer process (eg, discharges, difficulties accessing specialized facilities). Participants also described impacts to hospital operations, including changes in quality monitoring and operations (eg, decreased staff, data collection), increased health risks for clinicians and staff (eg, COVID-19 exposure, testing delays), and staff and supply shortages. Participants voiced concerns that negative quality and safety impacts could include increased risk of preventable safety events and hospital readmissions, and decreased patient engagement, education, and satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: We identified several impacts to clinical workflows and hospital operations during the pandemic that may have affected inpatient pediatric care quality and safety. Our findings highlight potentially important areas of focus for planning pandemic recovery, preparing for future pandemics, and conducting future research on inpatient pediatric quality and safety.
BACKGROUND: Despite increased incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) over the past decade, minimal data exist on benefits of parental presence at the bedside on NAS outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between rates of parental presence and NAS outcomes. METHODS: This was a retrospective, single-center cohort study of infants treated pharmacologically for NAS using a rooming-in model of care. Parental presence was documented every 4 hours with nursing cares. We obtained demographic data for mothers and infants and assessed covariates confounding NAS severity and time spent at the bedside. Outcomes included length of stay (LOS) at the hospital, extent of pharmacotherapy, and mean Finnegan withdrawal score. Multiple linear regression modeling assessed the association of parental presence with outcomes. RESULTS: For the 86 mother–infant dyads, the mean parental presence during scoring was on average 54.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 48.8%–60.7%) of the infant’s hospitalization. Maximum (100%) parental presence was associated with a 9 day shorter LOS (r = –0.31; 95% CI, –0.48 to –0.10; P < .01), 8 fewer days of infant opioid therapy (r = –0.34; 95% CI, –0.52 to –0.15; P < .001), and 1 point lower mean Finnegan score (r = –0.35; 95% CI, –0.52 to –0.15; P < .01). After adjusting for breastfeeding, parental presence remained significantly associated with reduced NAS score and opioid treatment days. CONCLUSIONS: More parental time spent at the infant's bedside was associated with decreased NAS severity. This has important implications for clinical practice guidelines for NAS.