Purpose: To analyze family interactions in the present day of families whose babies were preterm and to determine where possible parental knowledge deficits exist on infant care after hospital discharge in order to develop appropriate nursing interventions.

Background: Many studies reflect that parents who experience prolonged separation from their infant must overcome several obstacles to achieve bonding and attachment. Studies that follow preterm infants also show incidences of poor growth, lower intelligence, rejection of the child by parents, and even at times child abuse. According to the Health Department, almost 900 babies, or 12% of total births, are born prematurely each year in Montgomery County. Effective nursing interventions are essential to promote healthy families for this population in the Dayton area.

Methodology: This was primarily a descriptive non-experimental qualitative study. The sample was a convenience sampling of parents with premature infants who attend a local Developmental Assessment Clinic (DAC). A demographic form was filled out and an interview conducted to assess a families’ knowledge deficit, if any, on how to take care of their premature baby, and present concerns they have in regards to their child.

Results: Five main themes were uncovered: 1) Parents experience uncertainty in infant survival and family roles 2) Lack of self-care/depression, 3) Suppression of emotions for sake of family/baby, 4) Hyper-vigilance over condition of baby, and 5) Guilt and distress related to lack of connection with infant.

Clinical Implications: 1) 9 out of 10 mothers mentioned having another mom of a preemie to talk to while their infant is in the NICU- a “Hopeline”. 2) A neonatal nurse in the community to continue follow-up with families 3) Grief Counselor or PTSD counselor rotating through the NICU to talk to some of these families while they are there.

Included in

Nursing Commons