• maternal needs;
  • priorities;
  • well-being;
  • multivariate analysis;
  • exploratory factor analysis;
  • multidimensional scaling;
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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.