Background High quality neonatal services must include regular communication between parents and clinical staff, involving parents in planning and providing care for their baby. Little data exists on parental information needs and time clinical staff spend providing information.1,2
Aims Assess information needs of parents with babies on three neonatal units
Evaluate time and content of information provided by staff.
Method A study questionnaire was developed for parents and instituted across three neonatal units. These included two NICU’s at teaching hospitals and one local neonatal unit. The questionnaire asked parents to rate information themes by importance and satisfaction with current provision. A contemporaneous survey was conducted amongst staff quantifying time spent talking with parents and questions raised. Information themes were compared, scored and ranked with a maximum weighted average score (WAS) of 12.
Results There were 47 total respondents to the parent survey. Three areas demonstrated the largest importance for parents:Information about their baby’s next level of care, information and stories of other babies who have been through intensive care and information about pre-term development.
There was no significant difference in satisfaction between the three units and parents were generally satisfied (mean score 9.73). Parents were least satisfied with consistency of the information presented (WAS 9.32).
The most useful methods to deliver desired information were reported to be: using a smartphone App (26 respondents), access to medical notes (24 respondents) and regular progress charts (23 respondents).
Results of the staff survey showed that the main themes of conversation were: general update (89%), support and education (42%) and breastfeeding (31%). 30% of nursing staff reported inability to document conversations and 25% felt time pressured interacting with parents while completing clinical tasks.
Conclusion Although parents demonstrate a high level of satisfaction with the information they receive, there exists room for improvement. Parents have expressed need for more accessible electronic information and improved consistency. Staff may also benefit from having e-resources to signpost parents in order to focus communication, which could improve their efficiency and free up time for documentation.
NICE 2010 2. DOH 2009
Neonatal Specialist care. NICE quality standard. October 2010. Nice.org.uk/guidance/qs4
Toolkit for high quality Neonatal services. NHS and Department of health. October 2009
Statistics from Altmetric.com
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