Background In our centre term asphyxiated newborns are treated with hypothermia. Rectal temperature is maintained between 30 and 32°C for 72 h and cardiorespiratory parameters are monitored continuously by the nursing team. Blood tests, electroencephalography, cranial ultrasounds are checked daily and magnetic resonance imaging is performed within the 7th day. Parental support is necessary.
Objective In our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), open to parents 24 h a day, parental care is essential. Nurses support parents approaching their baby. Every step of hypothermic treatment is explained. The family is prepared for the rewarming phase to improve parents’ confidence in caring for asphyxiated infants.
Design and Methods The rewarming phase is obtained slowly during the 12–24 h after hypothermia. Rectal temperature is increased 0.5°C/h until 37°C. After rewarming, parents are educated in the application of newborn care procedures (holding, skin-to-skin contact, positioning) and their feelings are monitored.
Results The NICU open 24 h a day and continuous nursing attentions for parents reduce parental anxiety and improve attachment feelings regardless of the infant’s physical health status. Days of stay are also reduced.
Conclusions In asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia, a qualified nursing approach improves parent–newborn attachment in the intensive care environment.