Objective: To investigate the impact on mothers and families of caring for a premature infant receiving home oxygen therapy (HOT).
Methods: Standard questionnaires were used to compare the functioning of mothers and families of 10 premature infants receiving HOT, 10 premature infants who were discharged from hospital on HOT but who no longer required it and 20 premature infants who had never required treatment with HOT.
Results: After adjustment for gestational age, chronological age, birthweight and place of residence (urban/rural), the care required by premature infants receiving HOT had a significantly greater impact on their families than the care of infants not receiving HOT. Mothers of premature infants receiving HOT reported significantly less vitality and more mental health problems than mothers of infants not receiving HOT.
Conclusions: The use of HOT for premature infants may have a significant adverse impact on their mothers and families.