Background Discharge guidelines at Canberra Hospital were changed in 2005, and allowed parents to administer gavage feeds at home with provision of in-home support with the aim to promote early discharge, and to facilitate positive patient and family centred outcomes without jeopardising patient care. The aim of this study was to determine if this practice was beneficial in improving parent satisfaction and resulted in improved bonding between parent and child.
Methods Two groups were compared; the control group consisted of parents whose babies were discharged when they were able to take six suck feeds and two gavage feeds, given by nursing staff; the study group comprised parents whose babies were discharged when they were able to half of their feeds as suck feeds. A survey was developed and mailed to all parents in both groups.
Results 133 surveys were sent. There was a 48% response rate. There were no significant differences in satisfaction or bonding experience. Qualitative data highlighted differences between transitioning to home, transitioning to breastfeeding, expectations on discharge, satisfaction with the initial bond and parent-child interaction and inconsistencies with education and support.
Conclusions The results of this small study show similar satisfaction with two different gavage feeding regimens at discharge. The results indicate that an early discharge with gavage feeding done by the parents in the home environment presents with other positives of an early discharge and does not have a negative impact on parental satisfaction.
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