Purpose for the Program
This community-based program is designed to enhance parents’ competence and confidence as caregivers after their infants’ discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
By enhancing parent confidence and competence, this program will improve infant, parent, and overall family well being. The program also has the potential to decrease the use of health care resources, such as 911 calls, emergency resources visits, and hospital readmission.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
The program is conducted in the department for caregiver education and uses a preemie high-fidelity simulator. The specific activities are adapted to the anticipated discharge needs of the infant. The program accepts referrals from all the NICUs in the county and from the Health Department. The program began accepting referrals in January 2011. To date, the evaluation of parents and staff has been overwhelmingly positive and the funding has been extended for a second year. Data are being collected on the specific outcomes of parent confidence and competence as caregivers as well as on unscheduled use of health care resources on infants.
Implications for Nursing Practice
The use of high-fidelity simulators may have a significant role in the process of discharge teaching in the NICU.