Date of Award
Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
Research shows that 40% of mothers with preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) reported feelings of depression, and 23% reported experiencing post-traumatic stress symptoms, with that number increasing to 40% after discharge (Harris et al., 2018). Factors that contributed to this included a lack of social support, a lack of empowerment, perceived less capability in their new roles, and the stressful experiences that can happen in this setting (Matricardi et al., 2013; Sabnis et al., 2019). A similar study found that at discharge, 69.8% of parents reported that they were not confident in providing the necessary care to their infant without the support of the NICU providers and 47.2% reported that their infant required complex home care post-discharge. Parents also reported that returning to their daily routine took roughly 4 to 11 months post-discharge (Jiménez-Palomares et al., 2021). Occupational therapy has a significant role in this setting by facilitating parents’ involvement in their care while also increasing their confidence to continue care at discharge (Harris et al., 2018; Reynolds et al., 2013).
Berginski, Megan D., "INCREASING PARENT CONFIDENCE AND INVOLVEMENT IN THE NICU: AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EDUCATIONAL GUIDE" (2023). Occupational Therapy Capstones. 546.