Parents' Perspectives of Closeness and Separation With Their Preterm Infants in the NICU.J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2017 Sep - Oct; 46(5):737-747.JO
To discover parents' perceptions of closeness to and separation from their preterm infants in the NICU.
Urban Level III NICU.
Twenty parents of preterm infants in the NICU.
After ethics approval, data were collected with a smartphone application created for this study. Parents recorded their descriptions of moments of closeness and separation over a 24-hour period in the NICU. Data were transcribed verbatim and content was analyzed.
Five themes related to parents' perceptions of closeness and separation were identified: Having a role as a parent: Feeling autonomous and making decisions; Providing for and getting to know the infant: Feeding, holding, and interacting; Support from staff; Reluctantly leaving the infant's bedside; and NICU environment.
Autonomy is a key element of a parent's perception of closeness. Staff in the NICU can facilitate autonomy by involving parents in the care of their preterm infants as much as possible to reinforce the parental role. Parents described leaving their infants' bedsides as very difficult.