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Parental experience of interaction with healthcare professionals during their infant’s stay in the neonatal intensive care unit


Objective To explore the experiences of parents of infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit towards interaction with healthcare professionals during their infants critical care.

Design Semi-structured interviews were conducted with parents of critically ill infants admitted to neonatal intensive care and prospectively enrolled in a study of communication in critical care decision making. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and uploaded into NVivo V.10 to manage and facilitate data analysis. Thematic analysis identified themes representing the data.

Results Nineteen interviews conducted with 14 families identified 4 themes: (1) initial impact of admission affecting transition into the neonatal unit; (2) impact of consistency of care, care givers and information giving; (3) impact of communication in facilitating or hindering parental autonomy, trust, parental expectations and interactions; (4) parental perception of respect and humane touches on the neonatal unit.

Conclusion Factors including the context of infant admission, interprofessional consistency, humane touches of staff and the transition into the culture of the neonatal unit are important issues for parents. These issues warrant further investigation to facilitate individualised family needs, attachment between parents and their baby and the professional team.

  • neonatal intensive care
  • parents
  • engagement
  • communication
  • interaction

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