Simulation as Part of Discharge Teaching for Parents of Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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Abstract

Background:

Simulation has become accepted as a method to increase confidence among healthcare professionals. We felt simulation might have similar benefits for parents of babies about to be discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit.

Purpose:

We developed the Neonatal Home Environment Learning Program to promote parental confidence in anticipation of their infant's discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit.

Methods:

This evaluation study was conducted with 15 mother/father dyads. Each participant recorded a self-perceived confidence score before and after the simulation experience. Participants also completed a program evaluation and participated in a debriefing session. Confidence scores (pre- and postsimulation) and evaluation scores were analyzed with descriptive statistics. Responses from the debriefing sessions were analyzed using descriptive phenomenology.

Results:

Parents rated the simulation experience highly. During debriefings, parents shared that the simulation made them feel more prepared. Two themes emerged from the debriefing data: doing it alone was different than I expected and feeling more confident.

Clinical Implications:

A simulation experience for parents helps to ensure a positive transition to home and safe, effective care after discharge of the infant.

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