Parenting Infants Discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): A Change Project

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy


Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

Thesis Advisor

Stacy Frauwirth, MS, OTR/L

Second Advisor

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L


Approximately 451,000 of the 4.1 million babies born in the United States require a stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (Hamilton, Ventura, Martin, & Sutton, 2005; Reichman, Miller, Gordon, & Hendricks-Munoz, 2000; Tien, Peterson, & Shelley, 2002; Wingert & Noonan, 2000). This presents often-unanticipated challenges to the parents’ occupational functioning and stress and anxiety regarding their role as a competent parents (Dudek-Shriber, 2004). A needs assessment was completed by 29 parents of infants discharged from the NICU and 8 professionals who work with this population. Based on the results, this change project devised a resource guide of information and support resources for parents of infants discharged from the NICU in collaboration with Pediatric Physical Therapy & Services, Inc. (PPT & S, Inc.). Eleven parents and professionals evaluated the usefulness and format of the resource guide. Overall, evaluation results were favorable and indicated that the parents found the resource guide to be user-friendly and helpful at meeting their needs for additional information, support, and resources (Case-Smith, 2004; Cronin, 2004; Larson, 2000b; Missiuna, et al., 2006; Wayne & Krishnagiri, 2005). Thus, this researcher concluded that this type of information resource guide would be helpful in promoting occupational performance of parents of infants discharged from the NICU.

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