New Czech law permits parents to stay with hospitalized children

If the child is under the age of six, the health insurance company will also cover the parents' stay.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 14.06.2023 12:07:00 (updated on 14.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

According to a new decree from the Ministry of Health, parents of hospitalized children will be allowed to stay with them continuously (long-term) in hospital rooms and intensive care units. This applies to the parents or guardians of everyone under the age of 18.

The law has been changed following a complaint from a mother who had been unable to stay with her critically ill three-month-old daughter due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Providing comfort and support

For parents of children under the age of six, the hospital stay will be covered by the health insurance company, while parents of older children will pay for their own accommodation in the hospital. Under-18-year-olds are able to refuse the presence of their parent or guardian if they so wish, according to the decree.

"I hope that there will no longer be situations where the staff of a medical facility kicks parents away from the bed of a hospitalized child.”

Attorney Barbora Steinlaufová, who specializes in hospital patients' rights

“A hospital stay can be a difficult life experience for a child, as they undergo medical procedures that are sometimes accompanied by fear or pain. However, if they are in the presence of their parents, this has a very positive impact on both the child’s and parents’ psyche,” Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek said.

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Equal rights for mothers and fathers

The Health Ministry also emphasized the importance of not making gender-based discrimination, and giving either the mother or father the same right to stay with their hospitalized children. In the past, the Czech Health Ombudsman dealt with a case of a hospital that allowed the mother but not the father to stay with the child.

The Czech Constitutional Court also recently ruled that a father who was not allowed to be present at the birth of his daughter in a hospital in during the pandemic must be compensated. In its verdict, the court said that the presence of a father at childbirth is part of the right to family life.

Válek also noted that the presence of parents is allowed if they don't disrupt “the provision of health services" and surgical procedures. Where space allows, both parents are allowed to stay with the children – either in the hospital room itself or in a separate part of the hospital. 

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