Exploring Parental and Staff Perceptions of the Family-Integrated Care Model: A Qualitative Focus Group Study

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Abstract

Background:

Family-integrated care (FICare) is an innovative model of care developed at Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada, to better integrate parents into the team caring for their infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The effects of FICare on neonatal outcomes and parental anxiety were assessed in an international multicenter randomized trial. As an Australian regional level 3 NICU that was randomized to the intervention group, we aimed to explore parent and staff perceptions of the FICare program in our dual occupancy NICU.

Subjects and Design:

This qualitative study took place in a level 3 NICU with 5 parent participants and 8 staff participants, using a post implementation review design.

Methods:

Parents and staff perceptions of FICare were explored through focus group methodology. Thematic content analysis was done on focus group transcripts.

Results:

Parents and staff perceived the FICare program to have had a positive impact on parental confidence and role attainment and thought that FICare improved parent-to-parent and parent-to-staff communication. Staff reported that nurses working with families in the program performed less hands-on care and spent more time educating and supporting parents.

Implications for Practice:

FICare may change current NICU practice through integrating and accepting parents as active members of the infant's care team. In addition, nurse's roles may transition from bedside carer to care coordinator, educating and supporting parents during their journey through the NICU.

Implications for Research:

Further research is needed to assess the long-term impact of FICare on neonates, parents, and staff.

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