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Discharge Teaching in the NICU: Are Parents Prepared? An Integrative Review of Parents' Perceptions

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Background: At the end of their infant's NICU stay, parents are expected to assume full responsibility for their infant's care. It is important to look at discharge practices from the parents' points of view to see whether our strategies are effective.

Objectives: Review the literature for studies that give insight into parents' perceptions of the discharge process in order to assist health care providers in evaluating the available research and to identify any gaps in the literature.

Method: A literature search was performed to identify published studies that discuss parental perceptions related to their preparedness for their infant's discharge home from the NICU.

Results: Data from the parents' perspective were lacking. There are limitations in the data that are available. Parents are not prepared for discharge and have unanswered questions. Parental perceptions are different from health care professionals' perceptions.

Discussion: The studies that have been done need to be repeated in different centers, with greater sample sizes, and with subjects of different cultures, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status. There is a need for more research into parental perceptions of preparedness for their infant's discharge and ways to increase parental preparedness for discharge home from the NICU.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2009

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