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Partnering with Parents: Establishing Effective Long-Term Relationships with Parents in the NICU

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Advances in health care have led to unprecedented innovation in the care provided to critically ill newborns. One outcome of this new reality is that newborn intensive care units have become "homes" for fragile infants who require long-term hospitalization. Clearly, NICUs were never so envisioned; thus, this reality has resulted in challenges for families and health professionals alike. As the duration of hospitalization increases, relationships between families and health care professionals become increasingly important. Parents of hospitalized newborns face fear, anxiety, and frustration as they struggle to cope with an ill child while developing their parental role. The quality of relationships established between families and health care professionals is crucial to their coping and adaptation. This article addresses challenges faced by families whose infants experience extended hospitalization, applies a model to help health care professionals understand parent perspectives, and proposes strategies to promote effective partnerships and alliances with families.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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