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Keywords:

  • continuous positive airway pressure;
  • headbox;
  • neonatal care;
  • Parent Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit;
  • respiratory support;
  • satisfaction;
  • special care nursery;
  • stress

Abstract

Title. Parental stress and satisfaction in the non-tertiary special care nursery

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study examining the effects of using headbox oxygen and continuous oxygen positive airway pressure treatments for respiratory distress on stress and satisfaction of parents with infants in a special care nursery, and the relationship between parental stress and satisfaction.

Background.  Continuous positive airway pressure respiratory support is increasingly used in special care nurseries worldwide. Almost nothing is known about effects of different types of respiratory support on the stress and satisfaction of parents with babies in the special care nursery.

Method.  Questionnaires were used from August 2004 to June 2006 in five special care nurseries to measure parental stress using an adaptation of the Parental Stressor Scale: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and 5-point scales to measure overall stress and satisfaction.

Findings.  Questionnaires were returned from 42 parents of babies receiving headbox oxygen and 51 parents of babies receiving continuous positive airway pressure (62% response rate). High stress was commonly reported. Stress did not differ statistically significantly between the two treatments. Parents with babies receiving continuous positive airway pressure were more satisfied compared to the headbox group. Stress and satisfaction were not statistically significantly correlated.

Conclusion.  Clinicians need not favour either method of respiratory support when attempting to minimize parental experience of environmental stress. Further research is needed to test parental stress reduction strategies in the special care nursery.