Closed to visitors: service user and public views on suspended visiting during norovirus outbreaks

Kay Currie, Lesley Price, Christina Knussen, Pauline Hamilton, E. Curran

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Introduction: Temporarily suspending visitors (TSV) during norovirus outbreaks has been implemented as a control measure. However, wide-scale adoption may run contrary to person-centred care and may not be acceptable to the public. This study investigated the acceptability of TSV to patients, visitors and the public during norovirus outbreaks.
Methods: A self-administered cross-sectional survey was conducted in an urban, a rural and a remote area of Scotland. The questionnaire asked participants to indicate their agreement or disagreement with statements about TSV. These had been identified from focus groups and a Delphi study with patients, visitors, the public and staff. Results: 554 returned questionnaires were included in the analysis. The effects of having norovirus for service users were considered severe (M=8.47, SD 2.15; range 1[low]-10[high]) and TSV during norovirus outbreaks was relatively acceptable (M=8.46, SD=1.75). TSV was not generally thought to be upsetting for service users and visitors (M=3.73, SD=2.68) or to be against people’s rights (M=3.68, SD=3.06) and overall the benefits of TSV were judged to outweigh the disadvantages (M=8.22, SD 2.35). With regard to the implementation of TSV, informing service users’ families of the commencement of TSV (M=8.56, SD=2.25) and providing a means of communication between service users and families (M=8.55, SD=2.21) were rated highly, as were allowing exceptions for patients who were terminally ill (M=8.03, SD=2.72) and children (M=7.05, SD=3.12). Conclusion: TSV during norovirus outbreaks was acceptable to participants. They rated highly factors related to communication and exceptions that could be considered for inclusion in norovirus outbreak guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • novovirus
  • TSV
  • hospital visiting
  • outbreak management
  • medical questionnaires


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