Assessment of Maternal Knowledge and Confidence About Abusive Head Trauma and Coping With Infant Crying Before and After Infant Safety Education in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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Abstract

Infants with a history of perinatal illness are at higher risk for abusive head trauma (AHT). Crying is a common trigger for physical abuse, and education on coping with infant crying is an important component of AHT prevention. This study assesses the effects of education in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on mothers' knowledge about AHT and infant crying, self-efficacy in applying the education to infant cares and providing the education to others, and the quality of AHT and infant crying education after discharge. Mothers received a standardized education program about AHT and infant crying and completed a preeducation survey, posteducation survey, and 4- to 5-month follow-up survey. Overall, there was a sustained increase in knowledge (P < .001) and confidence (P < .001). Mothers who received verbal education reported a higher increase in confidence (P = .03). Few received information from healthcare providers about crying (35%) and AHT (20%) after discharge. At follow-up survey, most felt highly confident in their ability to share information about AHT (97%) and calm their infant (95%). Most had shared the education with others (77%). Education on AHT and crying in the NICU can produce sustained increases in mothers' knowledge and confidence, but the effectiveness may be improved by addressing unique barriers to education in this population.

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