Home-based Care Needs of Preterm Infants Discharged Early from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Descriptive Qualitative Study


1 Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Isfahan university of medical scinces

3 Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Prematurity could result in the long admission of the neonate to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and development of some complications for both mother and newborn. The early discharge programs make the neonatal transference to home much easier and are beneficial to both parents and newborns. However,there are limited studies investigating the real needs of the preterm neonates discharged early. Therefore, the identification of the post-discharge needs of these newborns could help the nurses, as the most important health care members, to consider these needs and mitigate the complications affecting the neonates.
This study aimed to describe the care needs of the preterm infants with early discharge from the NICU.
Methods: The present study was conducted on 25 participants (i.e., 10 mothers, 3 physicians, and 12 nurses) selected by purposive sampling technique. Data collection was performed by Observer as participant and in-depth interviews by qualitative content analysis for analysis.
Results: Data analysis led to the emergence of four categories, namely need to follow nasogastric tube feeding, need for oxygen level monitoring, need to obtain sufficient information about medication, and need to acquire skill for daily care delivery.
Conclusion: The enhancement of the nurses' knowledge about the needs of the preterm neonates with early discharge would result in the improvement of their abilities in the relevant domain. Accordingly, these nurses could help the mothers to prevent the incidence of several complications in the neonates, such as readmissions to the NICU. More importantly, these measures could prevent from the consequences of failure to fulfil these needs emerging in the later stages of life. 


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