The relationship between maternal needs and priorities in a neonatal intensive care environment
Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate the nature and organization of maternal needs and priorities in a neonatal unit.
Background. The relationship between maternal needs and priorities appears to be an under studied area in neonatal nursing.
Methods. A quantitative survey was carried out based on 209 mothers with premature infants. Two self-assessment schedules were used: critical care maternal needs inventory (J. Leske, Heart and Lung15, 27–42) and a ranking scale. The data were analysed with multivariate analysis.
Findings. Data analysis revealed clear priorities in maternal needs. In particular the need for accurate infant related information was a priority for 93% of the mothers. Good communication practices with professionals were also valued. The mothers displayed altruistic behaviour, and self-related needs took second place. It is proposed that maternal needs demonstrate a hierarchical organization.
Conclusion. It is important for nurses to consider the individual needs of the mothers, simply because the satisfaction of these needs is essential for maternal well-being.