Skin to skin contact is a method derived from kangaroo care whose implementation in industrialized countries has rarely been assessed.
Objectives: To evaluate the barriers, knowledge and expectations of health professionals regarding this care in 2 level III neonatal care units in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Materials and methods: Investigation was conducted by means of 2 questionnaires, one intended to physicians, the other to the nursing staff sharing some common questions. The 2 neonatal units differed by the level of implementation of skin to skin contact. Results were compared according to occupation and site of work.
Results: 80% of the physicians and 71.4% of the paramedical staff answered to the questionnaires. The difficulties were linked to technical or architectural constraints. Responses were not very different between the 2 teams. The majority (90%) considered this practice as a fully-fledged care. The positive effects on attachment (96% of the answers) were well-known but those on sleep (2,9%), breast-feeding (5%) and pain (0%) were only rarely mentioned. Barriers to implementation were centred on infant's safety. The majority of the team wished to benefit from an educational intervention.
Discussion: Although the perception of skin to skin contact was positive in these 2 teams, increased knowledge of the evidence supporting its practice could enable babies and parents to benefit from all its positive effects. The need for educational program was clearly mentioned to improve parents' information.
Conclusion: This work emphasises the complexity of introducing new procedures in neonatal care particularly in the field of developmental care.