Factors affecting parents' presence with their extremely preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care room

Acta Paediatr. 2013 Jul;102(7):695-702. doi: 10.1111/apa.12267. Epub 2013 May 8.


Aim: To describe parents' experiences of factors that influenced their stay with their extremely preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Methods: This study has a qualitative descriptive design based on semistructured interviews conducted with seven mothers and six fathers.

Results: Opportunities to stay overnight together with their infant facilitated parental presence, and opportunities for taking over their infant's care empowered the parents in their parental role and increased their motivation to stay. Kangaroo mother care helped them to feel in control and feel needed, which increased their presence. High levels of illumination and noise rendered it difficult for parents to sleep and stay overnight with the infant. Low staffing levels limited their use of kangaroo mother care when they had to wait for assistance to transfer the infant from the incubator. Several participants perceived the performance of painful procedures on their child as stressful and as an obstacle to their presence.

Conclusion: Kangaroo mother care and active involvement in the infant's care gave parents a sense of control and strengthened their motivation to be with their infant. High levels of noise and illumination and a dismissive staff attitude were obstacles to parents' presence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Communication
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*