The onset of any emerging outbreak is stressful for everyone. Singapore was one of many countries affected early by COVID-19. In response, many precautionary measures were quickly initiated, including the isolation of suspected COVID-19 pediatric cases, and their caregivers were isolated together with their hospitalized children as a result. Caregivers play an important role in facilitating their child’s health in the hospital. Rooming in with their children during hospitalization promotes the benefits of parental presence and reduces separation effects. However, sudden admission with strict movement restrictions poses stress to these caregivers too. This study ran a 3-part paper-based survey to understand the stresses and concerns which caregivers faced when suddenly entering dyad isolation. The survey polled caregivers’ general perception of the situation, and also used questions adapted from the SARS Fear Scale and the Hospital Anxiety & Depression Scale (HADS). Caregivers in the COVID-19 isolation units did not expect their child to be isolated and were not prepared for dyad isolation with their children. They were found to be more dejected and were concerned that they themselves might have possibly infected their family and friends. Caregivers of children suspected of COVID-19 should be pre-empted to prepare for the possibility of isolation. This may include bringing in toys and personal entertainment to reduce boredom, as well as other essential needs. Patient mental wellness programs may consider extending their services to these caregivers too.

Experience Framework

This article is associated with the Patient, Family & Community Engagement lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).