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Authors

  1. Toly, Valerie Boebel PhD, RN, CPNP
  2. Sattar, Abdus PhD
  3. Zauszniewski, Jaclene A. PhD, RN-BC, CCS, CPC, FAAN

Abstract

This study examined the relationship of mothers' psychological well-being (depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress symptoms) and resourcefulness with their technology-dependent infants' healthcare utilization (rehospitalization, emergency department [ED] visits) following discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This descriptive, correlational study was conducted at a large Midwest level 4 NICU in the United States. Mothers (n = 19) with a technology-dependent infant (eg, supplemental oxygen, feeding tubes) to be discharged home from the NICU within 2 to 3 weeks were interviewed face-to-face using standardized instruments. Infant rehospitalization and ED visit data were collected from the electronic medical record (EMR) for the first 3 months following the infant's discharge. Analyses included descriptive statistics and negative binomial regression. A majority of infants (72.2%) required at least 1 hospitalization; 33% required at least one ED visit. Mothers' age and resourcefulness were significant predictors of ED visits while only resourcefulness predicted rehospitalizations. Neither depressive symptoms nor posttraumatic stress symptoms significantly predicted healthcare utilization. Maternal resourcefulness was the only main variable that significantly predicted both ED visits and hospitalizations and one of the few modifiable factors that could assist mothers with successfully coping with the complexity of caring for a technology-dependent infant. Future research should focus on interventions to enhance mothers' resourcefulness prior to their technology-dependent infant's NICU discharge.