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Families’ views on ward rounds in neonatal units
  1. R Bramwell1,
  2. M Weindling2,
  3. for the FVWR Research Team
  1. 1Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK
  2. 2School of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Liverpool, Neonatal Unit, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Liverpool L8 7SS, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Bramwell
    Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK;


Objective: To discover parental preferences about visiting during ward rounds.

Design: Survey using a short structured interview

Setting and participants: Families of babies cared for in a regional neonatal intensive care unit.

Results: Eighty six respondents, no refusals. Sixty three had visited during a ward round, and 13 had come in especially for the round. About half had overheard conversations about other babies or thought discussions about their baby had been overheard. Concerns about these experiences were only expressed by respondents who had actually experienced overhearing. Parents and families had little information about the ward round, held diverse views, and expressed different priorities. They described a mixture of concerns about communication, practicalities, and issues of ethics and principle. Confidentiality was a matter of concern for some, but many parents expected some sharing of information between families on the unit.

Conclusions: Units should consider: the information they have for parents about ward rounds; the possibility that consultations may be overheard; the opportunities for parents to communicate with the clinical team.

  • ward rounds
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • confidentiality
  • communication

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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • The Families’ Views on Ward Rounds (FVWR) research team comprised Rosie Barnes, Jill Dixon, Vicky Priest, Ruth Taylor, and Rachel Williams who conducted the interviews reported in this paper.