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Authors

  1. Taittonen, Leena MD, PhD
  2. Parus, Malin MD
  3. Lahtinen, Maija BSc
  4. Ahola, Jaana BSc
  5. Bartocci, Marco MD, PhD

Abstract

Parental involvement in the care of their baby in family rooms in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) can be improved. This could be done with an electronic medical report completed by the parents, which is then linked to the patient record system. The parents selected for this study completed an electronic diary during their stay in the NICU, while the staff answered a questionnaire about their opinion on the usefulness of the parents' diary. The length of stay, length of time the baby spent in Kangaroo care, breastfeeding, time given to breastfeeding, feeling of tiredness, the capability of identifying the newborn's signals, and parents' opinion on the diary were variables in the study. The NICU staff's opinion about the usefulness of the diary in decision-making was sought using a questionnaire. Eleven mothers and three fathers completed the diary. The median time for staying in the ward was 20 hours/day. The median time in Kangaroo care was 3 hours/day. The majority of mothers were breastfeeding on average 5 times per day. The commonest length of time for breastfeeding was 1 to 2 hours/day. The parents felt somewhat tired during their stay. All parents recognized their child's signals mostly or all the time. Most parents were happy with the diary. The nursing staff's opinions on the usefulness of the diary too were uniformly positive, whereas the doctors' opinions varied from positive to critical in nature. In conclusion, the diaries provided us with new information about parents' perceptions in the NICU. The nurses found the diary useful whereas the doctors were more critical.