Flexible visitation policies in hospitals are an important component of care that contributes to reduced stress and increased satisfaction among patients and their family members. Early evidence suggests restricted visitation policies enacted in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic are having unintended consequences on patients, family members and healthcare providers. There is a need for a comprehensive summary of the impacts of restricted visitation policies on key stakeholders and approaches to mitigate that impact.
Methods and analysis
We will conduct a scoping review as per the Arksey-O’Malley 5-stage scoping review method and the Scoping Review Methods Manual by the Joanna Briggs Institute. We will search relevant electronic databases (eg, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO), grey literature and preprint repositories. We will include all study designs including qualitative and quantitative methodologies (excluding protocols) as well as reports, opinions and editorials, to identify the broad impact of restricted hospital visitation policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic on patients, family members or healthcare providers of hospitalised patients, and approaches taken or proposed to mitigate this impact. Two reviewers will calibrate the screening criteria and data abstraction form and will independently screen studies and abstract the data. Narrative synthesis with thematic analysis will be performed.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval is not applicable as this review will be conducted on published literature only. This scoping review will identify, describe and categorise impacts of restricted hospital visitation policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic on patients, family members and healthcare providers of hospitalised patients, and approaches that have been taken to mitigate impact. We will provide a comprehensive synthesis by developing a framework of restricted visitation policies and associated impacts. Our results will inform the development of consensus statements on restricted visitation policies to be implemented in future pandemics.
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