Credentials of Corresponding Author
The birth of a preterm infant is deemed to be a stressful experience for the infant and parents. The stress experience persists from perinatal period through post Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) discharge. Interventions, i.e., guidance and emotional support, may reduce stress in families with preterm infants post-NICU discharge.
To comprehensively determine interventions that may reduce stress in families with preterm infants post NICU discharge.
Literature search via PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Keywords included stress reduction interventions, NICU/neonatal intensive care unit, parent distress, (preterm) infant distress, post discharge.
Results of literature search
Seven articles were reviewed. Initial and on-going stress assessment of family with preterm infants is critical. Such stress assessment may be conducted via the Impact on Family Scale, parent reported questionnaires, Parenting Stress Index, Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Neonatal Medical Index.
Synthesis of evidence
Common stressors included the complexity of community-based resources, financial burden, and social isolation. Effective interventions to facilitate stress reduction and optimal health outcomes for preterm infants and families post NICU discharge include on-going home health service with a neonatal nurse and the Mother-Infant Transaction Program (MITP). These interventions provide neonatal care for preterm infants at home, education, guidance, advice, and emotion support to families.
Implications for practice
Interventions, i.e., home health service with a neonatal nurse and the MITP, may be implemented post NICU discharge to ensure therapeutic continuation of complex neonatal care, empower families by increasing their competency and confidence, thus overall reducing stress in caring for a preterm infant post NICU discharge. Future research is warranted to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of these interventions in different minority groups, social economic statuses, residential neighborhoods.
Stress Reduction Interventions for Families with Preterm Infants Post NICU Discharge