A qualitative analysis on the discharge process of high-risk infants from the NICU




Johnson, Yvette MD MPH
Lamping, Ashley


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Purpose: Poor discharge planning from the NICU may lead to negative outcomes in high-risk infants. Proper caregiver education may decrease the chance of post-NICU readmission and/or adverse health outcomes. There is a lack of follow up studies in the literature. This pilot study was designed to identify any issues that may exist in the current discharge process at CCMC. The results can be used to reevaluate and/or change the planning process for the benefit of future NICU patients and their families. Materials and Methods: Two assessments were distributed on two different occasions between two sample populations. The assessments were distributed within two weeks prior to discharge from the CCMC NICU and on the first follow up visit in the NEST clinic. 22 parents/guardians were interviewed. A higher score on either survey indicates a better quality of life. Results: Prior to discharge, the parents/guardians of NICU patients averaged a 96.2% score in family cohesion, 97% in infant well being, 85.9% in maternal well-being, 89% in maternal comfort, 52% in time impact, and a 79.2% score in family cohesion. On the first follow up visit, parents/guardians averaged a 80% score in parent quality of life, 65.45% in infant progress, 75.9% in overall quality of life, 84.1% in transition to home, 93.5% in NICU experience, 84.8% in maternal confidence, 43.9% in coping and adjustment, and 73.5% in maternal comfort. Conclusions: Overall, families feel adequately prepared for the discharge process and the transition from the NICU to home. Results from this pilot study indicate a need for more maternal counseling and parent education pertaining to each child’s development and growth. Coping and adjustment is the parameter that scored lowest overall. A follow up study with a larger sample size is needed to further identify factors that could be improved in the discharge planning process.