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Parental perception of staff-parent communication in the neonatal unit
  1. K Willis,
  2. P Nath,
  3. C Thurlow,
  4. M James
  1. Neonatal Unit, Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust, Ipswich, UK

Abstract

Background and aim A high standard of communication between staff and parents in the neonatal unit is a vital part of family centred care. It is essential to the establishment of good working relationships and improves parent-baby bonding. Information provided should be free of medical jargon and presented in a way that parents can easily understand. We aimed to study parents' perception of the quality of communication in the neonatal unit.

Method A 12 point questionnaire was sent by post to the parents of babies admitted to the neonatal unit from August–October 2009.

Results A total of 134 parents were approached and 74(55%) responded. Of the responses 50 (68%) were from mothers and 22 (30%) were from both parents. Gestational age ranged from 28 to 43 weeks (Median 39.5 weeks) and birth weight from 592 to 5020 g (Median 3165 g).

59 (80%) had communication with medical staff within 24 h of admission. 67 (91%) parents were regularly updated during their baby's stay. When asked about the person updating, 40 (60%) were regularly updated by the nurses and 15 (22%) by both nursing and medical staff. 68 (92%) parents were happy with the time spent, ease of understanding and sensitivity of conveyance of the information. 66 (89%) reported overall satisfaction with the communication, 6 (8%) were unsatisfied.

Conclusions The majority of parents were regularly updated and overall were happy with the quality of communication in the neonatal unit. Parents identified nurses as the key source of information.

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