Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Gastroesophageal Reflux -- therapy; Infant, Premature


One of the problems that health care workers practicing in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) face is providing care that is individualized to each infant and his/her family, being supportive to the infant during their development and to parental roles, and being sensitive to the needs of each infant and his/her parents and family (Lawhon, 2002). There is an additional challenge when the infant is also diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Parents are often the primary caregivers and advocates for their infant in the NICU; for this reason, it is important that they understand and take part in their baby's care. Therefore, by providing clear and easy to understand explanations of the equipment, technology, staff, and common procedures related to infants in the NICU and GERD parents are able to gain the confidence needed to care for their baby.

An extensive review of literature was completed; it included descriptions of the types of NICU staff, equipment and devices, diagnosis and treatment of GERD, the occupational therapist's role, and parental involvement. This author also visited an area neonatal intensive care unit to gather information and examples of resources provided to parents while their child is in the NICU. In was concluded that families benefit from materials and education from the NICU staff that was clear and concise as well as user friendly. It was also determined that these materials and educational sessions would be used or implemented during the infants stay in the NICU.

An easy to understand resource manual was developed to be provided to parents of preterm infants with GERD. The manual is divided into sections that include information about: the NICU, equipment in the NICU, personnel in the NICU, an overview of GERD including diagnosis and symptoms, treatment options for GERD, other cares for the preterm infant, tips for parents and continuing care, as well as additional resources and a glossary of terms. Each section provides easy to read descriptions of the various topics and pictures are included to facilitate understanding of the material presented.